Special Issue "Environmental Impact Assessment of Energy Technologies"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Mr. Matthias Stucki
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Natural Resource Science, Grüental, Postfach, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
Interests: life-cycle assessment (LCA); environmental impact assessment; sustainability; climate change; carbon footprint; enironmental footprint; energy technolgies; renewable energy; life cycle thinking

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The United Nations have identified “global access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy” as one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the 2030 Agenda. Yet, the current global energy mix is mainly based on non-renewable energy sources and is thus still far from achieving the environmental dimensions of this goal. Most current global environmental challenges, such as air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, or resource depletion, are at least partly driven by the global energy system in a direct or indirect way. In order to achieve the SDG, extensive measures within the energy system need to be implemented. However, researchers looking into the global technology shift are confronted with the fact that not only fossil energy technologies cause negative environmental impacts, as renewable energy technologies are also facing challenges to minimise environmental impacts such as land use (bioenergy), noise (wind energy), biodiversity loss (hydropower) and rare earths depletion (photovoltaics).

This Special Issue will address the environmental impact assessment of energy technologies. Contributions may respond to (without being limited to) the following questions:

  • What are the relevant environmental impacts of current and new energy technologies beyond the carbon footprint?
  • What are the new methodological developments for the environmental assessment that are relevant for energy technologies?
  • What are the environmental benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy technologies?
  • Which strategies to reduce the environmental footprint of the global energy system are feasible?
  • What recommendations, from an environmental perspective, can be given to policy makers?
  • How can we identify clean energy technologies that should be prioritized for achieving the United Nations SDG?

Matthias Stucki
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • environmental impact assessment
  • greenhouse gas mitigation
  • energy technology evaluation
  • embodied energy
  • energy payback time
  • renewable energy technologies

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Site-Dependent Environmental Impacts of Industrial Hydrogen Production by Alkaline Water Electrolysis
Energies 2017, 10(7), 860; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10070860 - 28 Jun 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
Industrial hydrogen production via alkaline water electrolysis (AEL) is a mature hydrogen production method. One argument in favor of AEL when supplied with renewable energy is its environmental superiority against conventional fossil-based hydrogen production. However, today electricity from the national grid is widely [...] Read more.
Industrial hydrogen production via alkaline water electrolysis (AEL) is a mature hydrogen production method. One argument in favor of AEL when supplied with renewable energy is its environmental superiority against conventional fossil-based hydrogen production. However, today electricity from the national grid is widely utilized for industrial applications of AEL. Also, the ban on asbestos membranes led to a change in performance patterns, making a detailed assessment necessary. This study presents a comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) using the GaBi software (version 6.115, thinkstep, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany), revealing inventory data and environmental impacts for industrial hydrogen production by latest AELs (6 MW, Zirfon membranes) in three different countries (Austria, Germany and Spain) with corresponding grid mixes. The results confirm the dependence of most environmental effects from the operation phase and specifically the site-dependent electricity mix. Construction of system components and the replacement of cell stacks make a minor contribution. At present, considering the three countries, AEL can be operated in the most environmentally friendly fashion in Austria. Concerning the construction of AEL plants the materials nickel and polytetrafluoroethylene in particular, used for cell manufacturing, revealed significant contributions to the environmental burden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment of Energy Technologies)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Highly Efficient 3rd Generation Multi-Junction Solar Cells Using Silicon Heterojunction and Perovskite Tandem: Prospective Life Cycle Environmental Impacts
Energies 2017, 10(7), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10070841 - 23 Jun 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
In this study, the environmental impacts of monolithic silicon heterojunction organometallic perovskite tandem cells (SHJ-PSC) and single junction organometallic perovskite solar cells (PSC) are compared with the impacts of crystalline silicon based solar cells using a prospective life cycle assessment with a time [...] Read more.
In this study, the environmental impacts of monolithic silicon heterojunction organometallic perovskite tandem cells (SHJ-PSC) and single junction organometallic perovskite solar cells (PSC) are compared with the impacts of crystalline silicon based solar cells using a prospective life cycle assessment with a time horizon of 2025. This approach provides a result range depending on key parameters like efficiency, wafer thickness, kerf loss, lifetime, and degradation, which are appropriate for the comparison of these different solar cell types with different maturity levels. The life cycle environmental impacts of SHJ-PSC and PSC solar cells are similar or lower compared to conventional crystalline silicon solar cells, given comparable lifetimes, with the exception of mineral and fossil resource depletion. A PSC single-junction cell with 20% efficiency has to exceed a lifetime of 24 years with less than 3% degradation per year in order to be competitive with the crystalline silicon single-junction cells. If the installed PV capacity has to be maximised with only limited surface area available, the SHJ-PSC tandem is preferable to the PSC single-junction because their environmental impacts are similar, but the surface area requirement of SHJ-PSC tandems is only 70% or lower compared to PSC single-junction cells. The SHJ-PSC and PSC cells have to be embedded in proper encapsulation to maximise the stability of the PSC layer as well as handled and disposed of correctly to minimise the potential toxicity impacts of the heavy metals used in the PSC layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment of Energy Technologies)
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