Environmental Impacts of Solar Thermal Systems with Life Cycle Assessment

Alexis de Laborderie
Transånergie, Ecully, France

Clément Puech
Transånergie, Ecully, France

Nadine Adra
Transånergie, Ecully, France

Isabelle Blanc
MINES ParisTech, Sophia Antipolis, France

Didier Beloin-Saint-Pierre
MINES ParisTech, Sophia Antipolis, France

Pierryves Padey
MINES ParisTech, Sophia Antipolis, France

Jérôme Payet
Cycleco, Ambårieu, France

Marion Sie
Cycleco, Ambårieu, France

Philippe Jacquin
PHK Consultants, Ecully, France

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110573678

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:2, s. 3678-3685

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Solar thermal systems are an ecological way of providing domestic hot water. They are experiencing a rapid growth since the beginning of the last decade. This study characterizes the environmental performances of such installations with a life-cycle approach. The methodology is based on the application of the international standards of Life Cycle Assessment. Two types of systems are presented. Firstly a temperate-climate system; with solar thermal collectors and a backup energy as heat sources. Secondly; a tropical system; with thermosiphonic solar thermal system and no backup energy. For temperate-climate systems; two alternatives are presented: the first one with gas backup energy; and the second one with electric backup energy. These two scenarios are compared to two conventional scenarios providing the same service; but without solar thermal systems. Life cycle inventories are based on manufacturer data combined with additional calculations and assumptions. The fabrication of the components for temperate-climate systems has a minor influence on overall impacts. The environmental impacts are mostly explained by the additional energy consumed and therefore depend on the type of energy backup that is used. The study shows that the energy pay-back time of solar systems is lower than 2 years considering gas or electric energy when compared to 100% gas or electric systems.


Environmental impact; LCA; Solar thermal systems


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