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Geothermal Energy

, 2:8

First Online: 10 October 2014Received: 04 January 2014Accepted: 20 May 2014


BackgroundThe development of `enhanced geothermal systems- EGS, designed to extract energy from deep low-enthalpy reservoirs, is opening new scenarios of growth for the whole geothermal sector. A relevant tool to estimate the environmental performances of such emerging renewable energy RE technology is Life Cycle Assessment LCA. However, the application of this cradle-to-grave approach is complex and time-consuming. Moreover, LCA results available for EGS case studies cover a fairly high variability range.

MethodsA new type of LCA-based approach, called simplified model, is developed based on the analysis of environmental performance variability of energy pathways. Such methodology has been applied to produce a reduced parameterized model, designed to estimate life-cycle greenhouse gas GHG emissions of EGS power plants applicable to a large sample of configurations.

ResultsTwo parameterized models to assess EGS greenhouses gases GHG are the outcomes of this study. A parameterized reference model is developed to describe a large sample of possible EGS power plants located in central Europe. Two or three wells plants equipped with a binary system producing only electricity are accounted for. Applying global sensitivity analysis GSA to this reference model allows the identification of three key variables, responsible for most of the variability on GHG results: installed power capacity, drilling depth, and number of wells. A reduced parameterized model for the estimate of the GHG performances as the only function of these three key variables is then established. A comparison with the results of published EGS LCAs confirms the representativeness of our new simplified model.

ConclusionsOur simplified model, issued from the reference parameterized model, enables a rapid and simple estimate of the environmental performances of an EGS power plant, avoiding the extensive application of the LCA methodology. It provides an easy-to-use tool for the stakeholders of the EGS sector and for decision makers. It aims at contributing to the debate about the performances of this new emerging technology and its related environmental impacts.

KeywordsSimplified model Life-cycle assessment Enhanced geothermal systems Global sensitivity analysis AbbreviationsCO2carbon dioxide

dfuel for drilling

EGSenhanced geothermal system

fproduced flow rate

GHGgreenhouse gas

GSAglobal sensitivity analysis

IPCCIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

ISOInternational Organization for Standardization

kWhelkilowatt hour electrical

LCALife Cycle Assessment

LCILife Cycle Inventory

LFload factor


Nwnumber of wells

ORCorganic rankine cycle

PNETfinal power output of the EGS power plant

PORCinstalled capacity ORC

Ppspecific power of pumps

Rcoefficient of determination

RErenewable energy

RMSEroot-mean-square error

SFescaling factor enhancement

SISobol Index

zborehole depth

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s40517-014-0008-y contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Martino Lacirignola - Bechara Hage Meany - Pierryves Padey - Isabelle Blanc

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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