Life cycle assessment of a community hydroelectric power system in rural Thailand
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Rural electrification and the provision of low cost, low emission technology in developing countries require decision makers to be well informed on the costs, appropriateness and environmental credentials of all available options. While cost and appropriateness are often shaped by observable local considerations, environmental considerations are increasingly influenced by global concerns which are more difficult to identify and convey to all stakeholders.Life cycle assessment is an iterative process used to analyse a product or system. This study iteratively applies life cycle assessment (LCA) to a 3 kW community hydroelectric system located in Huai Kra Thing (HKT) village in rural Thailand. The cradle to grave analysis models the hydropower scheme's construction, operation and end of life phases over a period of twenty years and includes all relevant equipment, materials and transportation.The study results in the enumeration of the environmental credentials of the HKT hydropower system and highlights the need to place environmental performance, and LCA itself, in a proper context. In the broadest sense, LCA results for the HKT hydropower system are found to reflect a common trend reported in hydropower LCA literature, namely that smaller hydropower systems have a greater environmentally impact per kWh - perform less well environmentally - than larger systems. Placed within a rural electrification context, however, the HKT hydropower system yields better environmental and financial outcomes than diesel generator and grid connection alternatives.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Engineering and Energy|
|Copyright:||© 2011 Elsevier Ltd.|
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