alexa Life Cycle Analysis of the Embodied Carbon Emissions from 14 Wind Turbines with Rated Powers between 50 Kw and 3.4 Mw
ISSN: 2090-4541

Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications
Open Access

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Research Article

Life Cycle Analysis of the Embodied Carbon Emissions from 14 Wind Turbines with Rated Powers between 50 Kw and 3.4 Mw

Emily A. Smoucha1,2, Kate Fitzpatrick2, Sarah Buckingham3 and Oliver G.G. Knox4*

1School of Geosciences, Edinburgh University, UK

2Crop and Soil Systems, Scotland’s Rural College, UK

3Waste and Recycling, Edinburgh University, UK

4Department of Agronomy and Soil Science, University of New England, Australia

*Corresponding Author:
Oliver Knox
Department of Agronomy and Soil Science
School of Environmental and Rural Science
University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
[email protected]

Received Date: March 11, 2016; Accepted Date: June 10, 2016; Published Date: June 15, 2016

Citation: Smoucha EA, Fitzpatrick K, Buckingham S, Knox OGG (2016) Life Cycle Analysis of the Embodied Carbon Emissions from 14 Wind Turbines with Rated Powers between 50 Kw and 3.4 Mw. J Fundam Renewable Energy Appl 6:211.doi:10.4172/20904541.1000211

Copyright: © 2016 Smoucha EA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



In order to facilitate increased renewable energy production, there continues to be a global increase in wind turbine installation. When quantifying the carbon offsets from these installations, the production emissions are rarely accounted for. This paper reports on the embodied carbon emissions from the production of 14 wind turbines, rated between 50 kW and 3.4 MW. The embodied emissions were quantified from emission factors specific to each material involved in manufacture, transport to site, and installation of the turbines. The resulting trend was that higher-rated turbines had greater embodied carbon emissions with one 3 MW turbine incorporating 1046 tCO2eq compared to only 58 tCO2eq for an 80 kW turbine. However, the greater electricity output of the turbines offset these emissions more quickly with a recovery in 64 days for a 3.4 MW turbine compared to 354 days for a 100 kW one. This also resulted in lower carbon emissions per kilowatt hour of electricity generated and quicker payback as a percentage of lifetime of 0.9% for a 3.4 MW turbine compared to 4.3% and 4.9% for a 50 and 100 kW turbines, respectively. The findings of this analysis indicate that a preference for installation of higher-rated, over lower-rated, turbines should be favoured for greater environmental benefits.


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