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Environmental impact efficiency of natural gas combined cycle power plants: A combined life cycle assessment and dynamic data envelopment analysis approach



Environmental impact efficiency of natural gas combined cycle power plants: A combined life cycle assessment and dynamic data envelopment analysis approach



Science of the Total Environment 615: 29-37



The energy sector is still dominated by the use of fossil resources. In particular, natural gas represents the third most consumed resource, being a significant source of electricity in many countries. Since electricity production in natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants provides some benefits with respect to other non-renewable technologies, it is often seen as a transitional solution towards a future low‑carbon power generation system. However, given the environmental profile and operational variability of NGCC power plants, their eco-efficiency assessment is required. In this respect, this article uses a novel combined Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and dynamic Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) approach in order to estimate -over the period 2010-2015- the environmental impact efficiencies of 20 NGCC power plants located in Spain. A three-step LCA+DEA method is applied, which involves data acquisition, calculation of environmental impacts through LCA, and the novel estimation of environmental impact efficiency (overall- and term-efficiency scores) through dynamic DEA. Although only 1 out of 20 NGCC power plants is found to be environmentally efficient, all plants show a relatively good environmental performance with overall eco-efficiency scores above 60%. Regarding individual periods, 2011 was -on average- the year with the highest environmental impact efficiency (95%), accounting for 5 efficient NGCC plants. In this respect, a link between high number of operating hours and high environmental impact efficiency is observed. Finally, preliminary environmental benchmarks are presented as an additional outcome in order to further support decision-makers in the path towards eco-efficiency in NGCC power plants.

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Accession: 059687585

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28963894

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.243


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