The environmental impact evaluation of a wind farm in Vietnam

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2014
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This research conducts an in-depth analysis of the environmental impact assessment of a wind farm in Vietnam, with a view to identifying the various environmental stressors and then assess them under suitable impact categories. Although wind power releases no emissions during operation, there is an environmental impact related to the wind turbine during the entire life cycle from manufacturing to dismantling. In this study, a Life Cycle Assessment is carried out to quantify the environmental impact of twenty existing 1.5 MW wind turbines. The assessment analyses emissions in different unit processes and compares the means of different emissions during the lifetime of a wind farm. Furthermore, at the end of the thesis, the energy payback time is determined based on the cumulative energy requirements for a 20-year life period. For the quantitative analysis of the material and energy balances over the life cycle, all unit processes based on life cycle assessment are determined, and many matrix series are designed and calculated. Moreover, the environmental impact categories are set to match the conditions in Vietnam and the aims of the research. This study also shows that while the comprehensive life cycle inventory of a wind farm is heavily dependent on the unit processes, the impact can be divided into three categories: raw material data input, energy consumed in each unit process, and the emission outputs such as CO2, SO2, CH4, etc.. The three impact categories allow the classification of the emissions and give results for all life cycle assessment. Finally the findings shows that the largest emission contribution is mainly derived from the manufacturing phase, which varies from 60 % to 80 % of the total life cycle stages. The totalCO2 equivalent emissions in the climate change category is around 14 g for every kWh of electricity generated from the wind plant and the primary energy return is 5 months. This research is a good example that proves that a wind plant is one of the best options for mitigating climate change and for providing electricity in rural areas that are not connected to the grid. It can be stated that wind energy is among one of the cleanest sources of energy available today.
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