Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

FP5

LABBUOY Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: ENK6-CT-2001-00500
Gefördert unter: FP5-EESD
Land: Greece

Environmental Impact Assessment of the "LabBuoy" wave energy converter

Today, the environmental impact of any energy installation becomes a major issue of consideration already in the early planning phases of a project. Within the EU, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be carried out before public approval for larger projects can be granted. The minimum requirements of the EIA are specified in the EC Council Directive 85/337/EEC amended in Directive 97/11/EC. The directives require that private and public projects, which are likely to have significant effects on the environment, must be subject to an assessment of their potential effects on the environment before they can be allowed to proceed.

An EIA shall identify, describe and assess the direct and indirect effects of a project on the following factors:
- Human beings, fauna and flora;
- Soil, water, air, climate and the landscape;
- Material assets and the cultural heritage;
- The interaction between these factors mentioned.

The directives lay down rules for the EIA procedure, which includes a requirement for public participation: the results are to be made public, and the views of the public taken into consideration in the consenting procedure.

Despite the substantial non-pollution benefits of renewable energy technologies there are other environmental impact burdens that these benign power plants must address. Past experience, in particular with hydro and wind developments, has indicated that these considerations can be important and create a somewhat ambiguous situation towards such technologies in terms of the environmental protection or damage.
Wave energy technologies are still in the phase of emertion. Up to date only a few large scale prototypes are in operation worldwide.

The experiences with the environmental effects of wave energy converters are therefore very limited, and every trial to assess these effects quantitatively seems impossible at present. Different independent studies conducted in the past are therefore either of qualitative nature or they are drafting data and facts from adjacent RES technologies, mainly from offshore wind. But also this technology is comparably new and the figure of its environmental impact is incomplete.

An important technique for assessing quantitatively the environmental consequences associated with a product over its entire life cycle is Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). LCA became popular in the early nineties and emerged in response to increased environmental awareness of the general public, industry and governments. The precursors of LCA were global modelling studies and energy audits of the late 1960s and early 1970s. These attempted to assess the resource cost and environmental implications of different patterns of human behavior.

The most important applications of LCA are:
- Analysis of the contribution of the life cycle stages to the overall environmental load, usually with the aim to prioritise improvements on products or processes;
- Comparison between products for internal or external communications.

There are four ISO standards specifically designed for LCA application:
- ISO 14040: which regulates the principles and framework of LCA
- ISO 14041: regulating the goal and scope definition and inventory analysis
- ISO 14042: regulating life cycle impact assessment, and
- ISO 14043: regulating interpretation of results

In the present project Life Cycle Analysis of a fictive Labbouy plant of 100 devices with average annual power output of 0.5 MW was carried out. With this analysis valuable, quantitative results have been obtained. In particular, the impact of the technology on specific areas of major environmental concern could be quantified. The technology components of comparably high environmental damage have been identified, and their configuration should be reconsidered in future projects.

The expertise in LCA gained in the course of the project is also applicable to adjacent RES technologies. The knowledge accumulated and methods developed allow the result owners to expand their activities in this field to other WEC technologies and RES sectors.

Verwandte Informationen

Kontakt

Demosthenes AGORIS, (Professor)
Tel.: +30-2160-39900
Fax: +30-2160-38006
E-Mail-Adresse
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