Comparison with Coal-Fired Plants

In China, the environmental factors for a coal-fired generation system include coal demand value 320 g ce/kWh, warming emission discharge (CO2) value 738 g/kWh, and NOx value 3.25 g/kWh, acidification emission (SO2) value 9.38 g/kWh, and other emissions such as powder and soot discharge value 0.283 g/kWh from 1 kWh functional unit of 300 MW generation (Huang, 2006). Comparison of coal-fired plants and the solar thermal power plant in energy demand and emissions is depicted in Table B-10.

TABLE B-9 AP Analysis in LCA of 300 MW Solar Thermal Power Plants

Impact types

Item

Mass quality (g)

Equivalency factor (kg.kg−1)

Impact potential value (kg)

Total (g SO2 equiv./kWh)

AP

SO2

0.0432

1

0.0432

0.0536

 

NOX

0.0148

0.70

0.0136

TABLE B-10 Comparison of a Coal-Fired Power Plant and Solar Thermal Power Plant in Terms of Energy Demand and Emissions

technology

Energy demand MJ(kWh)

Powder and soot (g/kWh)

CO2 (g/kWh)

SO2 (g/kWh)

NOX (g/kWh)

Coal-fired

> 9.37

0.283

738

9.38

3.25

Solar thermal power

0.29

0.0293

31.6

0.432

0.0148

Conclusions

From the LCA performed for the 300 MW solar tower power plant, some important conclusions can be drawn:

  • First, this technology shows an environmental profile much better than the current mix of technologies used to produce electricity in China.

  • The cumulative energy demand of the life cycle of solar thermal power plant is much lower than the energy produced.

  • CO2 value of global warming emissions is around 31.6 g/kWh, which is much lower than the value of 738 g/kWh for competing fossil technologies.

  • Other impacts calculated are much lower than those produced by the current Chinese electricity generation system, and most of them are produced in the operation of the fossil-fired plant due to the consumption of natural gas or coal.



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