Special Issue "Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy and Environment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonio Colmenar Santos
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Guest Editor
Department of Electrical, Electronic, Control, Telematics and Chemical Engineering Applied to Engineering, Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers, National University of Distance Education, Juan del Rosal, 12 Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: power electronics; distribution generation; active distribution networks
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Prof. Dr. David Borge Diez
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Guest Editor
Energy Resources' Smart Management (ERESMA) Research Group, Department Area of Electrical Engineering, School of Mines Engineering, University of Léon, 24071 Leon, Spain
Interests: energy efficiency; energy economics; renewable energy; energy simulation; energy optimization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Enrique Rosales Asensio
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Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to perform an impartial analysis to evaluate the implications of the environmental costs and impacts of a wide range of technologies and energy strategies. This information is intended to be used to support decision-making by groups, including researchers, industry, regulators, and policy-makers. Life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic analysis can be applied to a wide variety of technologies and energy strategies, both established and emerging. LCA is a method used to evaluate the possible environmental impacts of a product, material, process, or activity. It assesses the environmental impact throughout the life cycle of a system, from the acquisition of materials to the manufacture, use, and final disposal of a product. Techno-economic analysis refers to cost evaluations, including production cost and life-cycle cost. Often, in order to carry out a techno-economic analysis, researchers are required to obtain data on the performance of new technologies that operate on a very small scale in order to subsequently design configurations on a commercial scale and estimate the costs of such expansions. The results of the developed models help identify possible market applications and provide an estimate of long-term impacts. These methods, together with other forms of decision analysis, are very useful in the development and improvement of energy objectives, since they will serve to compare different decisions, evaluating their political and economic feasibility and providing guidance on potential financial and technological risks.

Prof. Dr. Antonio Colmenar-Santos
Prof. Dr. David Borge Diez
Dr. Enrique Rosales Asensio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • life cycle
  • technoeconomic modeling
  • energy strategies

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Life-Cycle Carbon Emissions and Energy Return on Investment for 80% Domestic Renewable Electricity with Battery Storage in California (U.S.A.)
Energies 2020, 13(15), 3934; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153934 - 01 Aug 2020
Abstract
This paper presents a detailed life-cycle assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative demand for total and non-renewable primary energy, and energy return on investment (EROI) for the domestic electricity grid mix in the U.S. state of California, using hourly historical data for [...] Read more.
This paper presents a detailed life-cycle assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative demand for total and non-renewable primary energy, and energy return on investment (EROI) for the domestic electricity grid mix in the U.S. state of California, using hourly historical data for 2018, and future projections of increased solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity with lithium-ion battery energy storage, so as to achieve 80% net renewable electricity generation in 2030, while ensuring the hourly matching of the supply and demand profiles at all times. Specifically—in line with California’s plans that aim to increase the renewable energy share into the electric grid—in this study, PV installed capacity is assumed to reach 43.7 GW in 2030, resulting of 52% of the 2030 domestic electricity generation. In the modelled 2030 scenario, single-cycle gas turbines and nuclear plants are completely phased out, while combined-cycle gas turbine output is reduced by 30% compared to 2018. Results indicate that 25% of renewable electricity ends up being routed into storage, while 2.8% is curtailed. Results also show that such energy transition strategy would be effective at curbing California’s domestic electricity grid mix carbon emissions by 50%, and reducing demand for non-renewable primary energy by 66%, while also achieving a 10% increase in overall EROI (in terms of electricity output per unit of investment). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Assessment of Italian Electricity Scenarios to 2030
Energies 2020, 13(15), 3852; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13153852 - 28 Jul 2020
Abstract
The study presents a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Italian electricity scenarios, devised in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP). A fully representative LCA of the national electricity system was carried out, taking into consideration a great number of different power [...] Read more.
The study presents a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Italian electricity scenarios, devised in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (INECP). A fully representative LCA of the national electricity system was carried out, taking into consideration a great number of different power plant typologies for current (2016 and 2017) and future (2030) electricity mixes. The study confirms that LCA can be a powerful tool for supporting energy planning and strategies assessment. Indeed the results put in evidence not only the improvement of the environmental profile from the current to the future mix (the impacts decrease from 2016 to 2030 due to the transition towards renewables, mainly wind and photovoltaic), but also underline the difference between two scenarios at 2030 (being the scenario that includes the strategic objectives of the INECP to 2030 the one showing best environmental profile), providing an evaluation of the effect of different energy policies. For example, in the INECP scenario CO2 eq/kWh is 46% lower than current scenario and 37% lower than business as usual scenario for 2030. Moreover, considering different impact categories allowed to identify potential environmental trade-offs. The results suggest also the need of future insight on data related to photovoltaic technologies and materials and their future development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Private and Externality Costs and Benefits of Recycling Crystalline Silicon (c-Si) Photovoltaic Panels
Energies 2020, 13(14), 3650; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13143650 - 15 Jul 2020
Abstract
With solar photovoltaics (PV) playing an increasing role in our global energy market, it is now timely and critical to understand the end of life management of the solar panels. Recycling the panels can be an important pathway, possibly recovering a considerable amount [...] Read more.
With solar photovoltaics (PV) playing an increasing role in our global energy market, it is now timely and critical to understand the end of life management of the solar panels. Recycling the panels can be an important pathway, possibly recovering a considerable amount of materials and adding economic benefits from currently installed solar panels. Yet, to date, the costs and benefits of recycling, especially when externality costs resulting from environmental pollution are considered, are largely unknown. In this study, we quantified the private and externality costs and benefits of recycling crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV panels. We found that the private cost of end-of-life (EoL) management of the c-Si PV module is USD 6.7/m2 and much of this cost is from transporting (USD 3.3/m2) and landfilling (USD 3.1/m2), while the actual recycling process (the cost of consumed materials, electricity or the investment for the recycling facilities) is very small (USD 0.3/m2). We found that the external cost of PV EoL management is very similar to the private cost (USD 5.2/m2). Unlike the breakdown of the private costs, much of the externality costs (USD 4.08/m2) come from the recycling process, which suggests that more environmentally friendly methods (e.g., recycling methods that involve fewer toxic chemicals, acids, etc.) should be preferred. We estimated that the total economic value of the recycled materials from c-Si PV waste is USD 13.6/m2. This means that when externality costs are not considered, the net benefit of recycling is USD 6.7; when the externality cost of recycling is considered, there is still a net benefit of USD 1.19 per m2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Eco-Efficient Value Creation of Residential Street Lighting Systems by Simultaneously Analysing the Value, the Costs and the Eco-Costs during the Design and Engineering Phase
Energies 2020, 13(13), 3351; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13133351 - 30 Jun 2020
Abstract
In search of sustainable business models, product innovation must fulfil a double objective: the new product must have a higher (market) value, and at the same time a lower eco-burden. To achieve this objective, it is an imperative that the value, the total [...] Read more.
In search of sustainable business models, product innovation must fulfil a double objective: the new product must have a higher (market) value, and at the same time a lower eco-burden. To achieve this objective, it is an imperative that the value, the total costs of ownership, and the eco-burden of a product are analysed at the beginning of the design process (idea generation and concept development). The design approach that supports such a design objective, is called Eco-efficient Value Creation (EVC). This approach is characterised by a two-dimensional representation: the eco-burden at the y-axis and the costs or the value at the x-axis. The value is either the Willingness to Pay or the market price. The eco-burden is expressed in eco-costs, a monetised single indicator in LCA (Life Cycle Assessment): an app for IOS and Android, and excel look-up tables at the internet, enable quick assessment of eco-costs. A practical example is given: the design of a new concept of domestic street lighting system for the city of Rotterdam. This new concept results in a considerable reduction of carbon footprint and eco-costs, and shows the benefits for the municipality and for the residents, resulting in a viable business case. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling and Forecasting End-Use Energy Consumption for Residential Buildings in Kuwait Using a Bottom-Up Approach
Energies 2020, 13(8), 1981; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13081981 - 17 Apr 2020
Abstract
To meet the rapid-growing demand for electricity in Kuwait, utility planners need to be informed on the energy consumption to implement energy efficiency measures to manage sustainable load growth and avoid the high costs of increasing generation capacities. The first step of forecasting [...] Read more.
To meet the rapid-growing demand for electricity in Kuwait, utility planners need to be informed on the energy consumption to implement energy efficiency measures to manage sustainable load growth and avoid the high costs of increasing generation capacities. The first step of forecasting the future energy profile is to establish a baseline for Kuwait (i.e., a business-as-usual reference scenario where no energy efficiency incentives were given and the adoption of energy efficient equipment is purely market-driven). This paper presents an investigation of creating a baseline end-use energy profile until 2040 for the residential sector in Kuwait by using a bottom-up approach. The forecast consists of mainly two steps: (1) Forecasting the quantity of the residential energy-consuming equipment in the entire sector until 2040 where this paper used a stock-and-flow model that accounted for the income level, electrification, and urbanization rate to predict the quantify of the equipment over the years until 2040, and (2) calculate the unit energy consumption (UEC) for all equipment types using a variety of methods including EnergyPlus simulation models for cooling equipment. By combining the unit energy consumption and quantity of the equipment over the years, this paper established a baseline energy use profile for different end-use equipment for Kuwait until 2040. The results showed that the air conditioning loads accounted for 67% of residential electrical consumption and 72% of residential peak demand in Kuwait. The highest energy consuming appliances were refrigerators and freezers. Additionally, the air conditioning loads are expected to rise in the future, with an average annual growth rate of 2.9%, whereas the lighting and water heating loads are expected to rise at a much lower rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impacts of a Building’s Thermal Mass on the Cooling Load of a Radiant System under Various Typical Climates
Energies 2020, 13(6), 1356; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061356 - 14 Mar 2020
Abstract
Cooling load is difficult to predict for a radiant system, because the interaction between a building’s thermal mass and radiation heat gain has not been well defined in a zone with a cooling surface. This study aims to reveal the effect of thermal [...] Read more.
Cooling load is difficult to predict for a radiant system, because the interaction between a building’s thermal mass and radiation heat gain has not been well defined in a zone with a cooling surface. This study aims to reveal the effect of thermal mass in an external wall on the transmission load in a space with an active cooling surface. We investigated the thermal performances in a typical office building under various weather conditions by dynamic simulation with Energy-Plus. It was found that the thermal mass in the inside concrete layer had positives in terms of indoor temperature performance and energy conservation. The peak cooling load of the hydronic system decreases 28% in the proper operating state, taking into account the effect of the thermal mass in an external wall. Compared to the performances in zones with equivalent convective air systems (CASs), the peak cooling load and the accumulated load of the combined system (radiant system coupled by fresh air system) are higher by 9%–11% and 3%–4%, respectively. The effect of thermal mass is evident in a transient season with mild weather, when the relative effects are about 45% and 60%, respectively, for a building with radiant systems and a building with equivalent CASs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Environmental Costs of Buildings
Energies 2020, 13(6), 1353; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061353 - 14 Mar 2020
Abstract
Energy consumption and pollutant emissions from buildings have caused serious impacts on the environment. Currently, research on building environmental costs is quite insufficient. Based on life cycle inventory of building materials, fossil fuel and electricity power, a calculating model for environmental costs during [...] Read more.
Energy consumption and pollutant emissions from buildings have caused serious impacts on the environment. Currently, research on building environmental costs is quite insufficient. Based on life cycle inventory of building materials, fossil fuel and electricity power, a calculating model for environmental costs during different stages is presented. A single-objective optimization model is generated by converting environmental impact into environmental cost, with the same unit with direct cost. Two residential buildings, one located in Beijing and another in Xiamen, China, are taken as the case studies and analyzed to test the proposed model. Moreover, data uncertainty and sensitivity analysis of key parameters, including the discount rate and the unit virtual abatement costs of pollutants, are also conducted. The analysis results show that the environmental cost accounts for about 16% of direct cost. The environmental degradation cost accounts for about 70% of the total environmental cost. According to the probabilistic uncertainty analysis results, the coefficient of variation of material production stage is the largest. The sensitivity analysis results indicate that the unit virtual abatement cost of CO2 has the largest influence on the final environmental cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
A Discussion on the Effective Ventilation Distance in Dead-End Tunnels
Energies 2019, 12(17), 3352; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12173352 - 30 Aug 2019
Abstract
Forcing ventilation is the most widely used system to remove noxious gases from a working face during tunnel construction. This system creates a region near the face (dead zone), in which ventilation takes place by natural diffusion, rather than being directly swept by [...] Read more.
Forcing ventilation is the most widely used system to remove noxious gases from a working face during tunnel construction. This system creates a region near the face (dead zone), in which ventilation takes place by natural diffusion, rather than being directly swept by the air current. Despite the extensive use of this system, there is still a lack of parametrical studies discerning the main parameters affecting its formation as well as a correlation indicating their interrelation. With this aim in mind, computational fluid dynamics (CFDs) models were used to define the dead zone based on the airflow field patterns. The formation of counter vortices, which although maintain the movement of air hinder its renewal, allowed us to discuss the old paradigm of defining the dead zone as a very low air velocity zone. Moreover, further simulations using a model of air mixed with NO2 offered an idea of NO2 concentrations over time and distance to the face, allowing us to derive at a more realistic equation for the effective distance. The results given here confirm the degree of conservativism of present-day regulations and may assist engineers to improve ventilation efficiency in tunnels by modifying the duct end-to-face distance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Increasing the Competitiveness of Tidal Systems by Means of the Improvement of Installation and Maintenance Maneuvers in First Generation Tidal Energy Converters—An Economic Argumentation
Energies 2019, 12(13), 2464; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12132464 - 26 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The most important technological advances in tidal systems are currently taking place in first generation tidal energy converters (TECs), which are installed in areas in which the depth does not exceed 40 m. Some of these devices are fixed to the seabed and [...] Read more.
The most important technological advances in tidal systems are currently taking place in first generation tidal energy converters (TECs), which are installed in areas in which the depth does not exceed 40 m. Some of these devices are fixed to the seabed and it is, therefore, necessary to have special high performance ships to transport them from the base port to the tidal farm and to subsequently recover the main units of these devices. These ships are very costly, thus making the installation costs very high and, in some cases, probably unfeasible. According to what has occurred to date, the costs of the installation and maintenance procedures depend, to a great extent, on the reliability and accessibility of the devices. One of the possible solutions as regards increasing system performance and decreasing the costs of the installation and maintenance procedures is the definition of automated maneuvers, which will consequently influence: (i) an increase in the competitiveness of these technologies; (ii) a reduction in the number and duration of installation and maintenance operations; (iii) less human intervention, or (iv) the possibility of using cheaper general purpose ships rather than high cost special vessels for maintenance purposes, among others. In this research, we propose a definition of the procedures required for the manual and automated installation and maintenance maneuvers of gravity-based first generation TECs. This definition will allow us to quantify the costs of both the manual and automated operations in a more accurate manner and enable us to determine the reduction in the cost of the automated installation and maintenance procedures. It will also enable us to demonstrate that the automation of these maneuvers may be an interesting solution by which to improve the competitiveness of tidal systems in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Reviewing ISO Compliant Multifunctionality Practices in Environmental Life Cycle Modeling
Energies 2020, 13(14), 3579; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13143579 - 11 Jul 2020
Abstract
The standard ISO 14044:2006 defines the hierarchical steps to follow when solving multifunctionality issues in life cycle assessment (LCA). However, the practical implementation of such a hierarchy has been debated for twenty-five years leading to different implementation practices from LCA practitioners. The first [...] Read more.
The standard ISO 14044:2006 defines the hierarchical steps to follow when solving multifunctionality issues in life cycle assessment (LCA). However, the practical implementation of such a hierarchy has been debated for twenty-five years leading to different implementation practices from LCA practitioners. The first part of this study discussed the main steps where the ISO hierarchy has been implemented differently and explored current multifunctionality practices in peer-reviewed studies. A text-mining process was applied to quantitatively assess such practices in the 532 multifunctional case studies found in the literature. In the second part of the study, citation network analysis (CNA) was used to identify the major publications that influenced the development of the multifunctionality-debate in LCA, i.e., the key-route main path. The identified publications were then reviewed to detect the origins of the different practices and their underlying theories. Based on these insights, this study provided some “food for thought” on current practices to move towards consistent methodology. We believe that such an advancement is urgently needed for better positioning LCA as a tool for sustainability decision-making. In particular, consistent allocation practices could be especially beneficial in bioeconomy sectors, where production processes are usually multifunctional, and where current allocation practices are not harmonized yet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle & Technoeconomic Modeling)
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