Evaluating the environmental performance and the economic impact of concentrated solar power (CSP) type solar collector through a combined life cycle assessment (LCA)
This project aimed to evaluate the environment performance and economic impact of a newly improved concentrated solar power (CSP) hybrid with photovoltaic cell type of solar collector through a combined life cycle assessment (LCA).
Solar power is the most readily available source of energy that can replace fossil fuels. Solar farms however are still not efficient enough in providing optimum power output while having positive impacts to the environment. An optimized concentrated solar power (CSP) type collector introduces a hybrid of thermoelectric generators and photovoltaic cells with parabolic throughs to greatly enhance the efficiency of the power output. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the environmental impacts of the optimized CSP collector which utilizes fluid for heat removal compared to existing CSP collectors through Life cycle assessment (LCA). The economic impacts of this optimized CSP collector will also be studied to justify the cost in producing it in a large scale. This research aims to explain the sustainability and reliability of the CSP prototype by identifying the individual processes that takes place throughout the life cycle of the product and corresponding it with the respective costs, energy and materials needed. The methodology of this research starts with identifying the functional unit (FU) which is 1 kWh of electricity produced, which will be used to compare both performance of regular and optimized CSP collector. This is followed by setting the boundaries and scope of the study which is the dimensions, system components and fabrication processes. Once the boundaries are clearly defined, a life-cycle inventory will take place which involves taking into account of the material and energy flow path from cradle stage where the raw materials are extracted, to the grave stage where the CSP goes through waste management. The results generated would also show the stages or system parts where most of the impact is taking place and recommendations can be given to alter the design of the collector to reduce the costs and impacts inflicted.