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Life Cycle Assessment of Residential Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Description

This study seeks to examine how the introduction of residential solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) will affect urban air quality. Both the life-cycle and operations emissions profiles of an SOFC

This study seeks to examine how the introduction of residential solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) will affect urban air quality. Both the life-cycle and operations emissions profiles of an SOFC are compared with the baseload electricity generating technologies that widespread adoption of SOFCs would replace – coal fired, natural gas combined cycle, and nuclear. The monetary impacts from use phase emissions are then assessed in five water-vulnerable cities in which SOFCs would likely be adopted in order to increase local resilience to electricity failures as a result of water shortages. The SOFC system under study is a 1 kWe system of planar design intended for residential CHP. The excess heat from the SOFC is used to heat domestic hot water. Analysis of the SOFC system life-cycle includes raw materials extraction and processing, component manufacturing, SOFC manufacturing, natural gas fuel processing and distribution, SOFC use, as well as energy used in these processes. Life-cycle analysis of the baseload power systems is bounded similarly. Emissions tracked for this study include SOx, NOx, VOCs, PM10, and PM2.5.

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Date Created
  • 2012-05

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Characterizing generation mix and virtual water for resilience to drought on the western U.S. power grid

Description

There is growing concern over the future availability of water for electricity generation. Because of a rapidly growing population coupled with an arid climate, the Western United States faces a

There is growing concern over the future availability of water for electricity generation. Because of a rapidly growing population coupled with an arid climate, the Western United States faces a particularly acute water/energy challenge, as installation of new electricity capacity is expected to be required in the areas with the most limited water availability. Electricity trading is anticipated to be an important strategy for avoiding further local water stress, especially during drought and in the areas with the most rapidly growing populations. Transfers of electricity imply transfers of "virtual water" - water required for the production of a product. Yet, as a result of sizable demand growth, there may not be excess capacity in the system to support trade as an adaptive response to long lasting drought. As the grid inevitably expands capacity due to higher demand, or adapts to anticipated climate change, capacity additions should be selected and sited to increase system resilience to drought. This paper explores the tradeoff between virtual water and local water/energy infrastructure development for the purpose of enhancing the Western US power grid's resilience to drought. A simple linear model is developed that estimates the economically optimal configuration of the Western US power grid given water constraints. The model indicates that natural gas combined cycle power plants combined with increased interstate trade in power and virtual water provide the greatest opportunity for cost effective and water efficient grid expansion. Such expansion, as well as drought conditions, may shift and increase virtual water trade patterns, as states with ample water resources and a competitive advantage in developing power sources become net exporters, and states with limited water or higher costs become importers.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013