LCA sensitivity analysis of a multi-megawatt wind turbine

Posted by lmartincastano
Full LCA not available on the web
Publication year: 
Multi-megawatt wind turbine
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Quick LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Sponsor name(s): 
Grupo Eólicas Riojanas
Sponsor name(s): 
University of La Rioja, Logroño
Sponsor type: 
E. Martínez
E. Jiménez
J. Blanco
F. Sanz
Practitioner(s) type: 
Functional unit: 
The functional unit is defined as the electric energy produced by the wind turbines during its lifespan.
Goal and scope of the summary: 
The goal of this assessment is to identify the key environmental impacts of a wind turbine with Double Fed Induction Generator (Gamesa´s onshore wind turbine with 2MW rated power, and general dimensions: 80 m rotor diameter and 70 m height) during its life cycle. Once impacts are quantified it is possible to define ways of achieving environmental improvements for this particular wind turbine or for similar ones. The study is based on Eco-indicator99 LCA method and takes into account the different stages during of the life cycle: production of each component, transport to the wind farm, installation, the start-up, maintenance, and final dismantling, with its successive disposal of waste residues. Nevertheless, the study does not separate the impact of each stage, but the impact of each component (Foundation, Tower, Nacelle and Rotor) The study considers only the production of electricity and it does not take into account the system of distribution of the electricity generated by the wind turbine. Four alternative scenarios with some sub-scenarios have been studied, modifying parameters such as maintenance strategy, rate of recycling and disposal method.

This LCA study concludes that manufacture is the stage of life, between all of them (manufacture, transport, use, and disposal), with greatest environmental impact in the different categories, remaining in second place, and quite remote, the use stage.

The study underlines that the choices made at the turbine maintenance stage have an important effect on the results of the LCA. Another important conclusion is the significant influence of recycling and reuse of components in the final impacts of the wind turbine.

The variations of these two issues in the results of the LCA are between 14% and 20%. This important value imply the need to dig further into the future trends for the maintenance and recycling of components associated with the wind turbine.

Manufacturing impact level: 

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