Publications by authors named "Joseph Bergesen"

4 Publications

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Life Cycle Assessment of Solar Photovoltaic Microgrid Systems in Off-Grid Communities.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 01 23;51(2):1043-1052. Epub 2016 Dec 23.

First Solar , 350 W. Washington St., Suite 600, Tempe, Arizona 85281, United States.

Access to a reliable source of electricity creates significant benefits for developing communities. Smaller versions of electricity grids, known as microgrids, have been developed as a solution to energy access problems. Using attributional life cycle assessment, this project evaluates the environmental and energy impacts of three photovoltiac (PV) microgrids compared to other energy options for a model village in Kenya. When normalized per kilowatt hour of electricity consumed, PV microgrids, particularly PV-battery systems, have lower impacts than other energy access solutions in climate change, particulate matter, photochemical oxidants, and terrestrial acidification. When compared to small-scale diesel generators, PV-battery systems save 94-99% in the above categories. When compared to the marginal electricity grid in Kenya, PV-battery systems save 80-88%. Contribution analysis suggests that electricity and primary metal use during component, particularly battery, manufacturing are the largest contributors to overall PV-battery microgrid impacts. Accordingly, additional savings could be seen from changing battery manufacturing location and ensuring end of life recycling. Overall, this project highlights the potential for PV microgrids to be feasible, adaptable, long-term energy access solutions, with health and environmental advantages compared to traditional electrification options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b05455DOI Listing
January 2017

A Methodology for Integrated, Multiregional Life Cycle Assessment Scenarios under Large-Scale Technological Change.

Environ Sci Technol 2015 Sep 4;49(18):11218-26. Epub 2015 Sep 4.

Industrial Ecology Programme and Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology , Trondheim, NO-7491, Norway.

Climate change mitigation demands large-scale technological change on a global level and, if successfully implemented, will significantly affect how products and services are produced and consumed. In order to anticipate the life cycle environmental impacts of products under climate mitigation scenarios, we present the modeling framework of an integrated hybrid life cycle assessment model covering nine world regions. Life cycle assessment databases and multiregional input-output tables are adapted using forecasted changes in technology and resources up to 2050 under a 2 °C scenario. We call the result of this modeling "technology hybridized environmental-economic model with integrated scenarios" (THEMIS). As a case study, we apply THEMIS in an integrated environmental assessment of concentrating solar power. Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions for this plant range from 33 to 95 g CO2 eq./kWh across different world regions in 2010, falling to 30-87 g CO2 eq./kWh in 2050. Using regional life cycle data yields insightful results. More generally, these results also highlight the need for systematic life cycle frameworks that capture the actual consequences and feedback effects of large-scale policies in the long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b01558DOI Listing
September 2015

Integrated life-cycle assessment of electricity-supply scenarios confirms global environmental benefit of low-carbon technologies.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 May 6;112(20):6277-82. Epub 2014 Oct 6.

School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.

Decarbonization of electricity generation can support climate-change mitigation and presents an opportunity to address pollution resulting from fossil-fuel combustion. Generally, renewable technologies require higher initial investments in infrastructure than fossil-based power systems. To assess the tradeoffs of increased up-front emissions and reduced operational emissions, we present, to our knowledge, the first global, integrated life-cycle assessment (LCA) of long-term, wide-scale implementation of electricity generation from renewable sources (i.e., photovoltaic and solar thermal, wind, and hydropower) and of carbon dioxide capture and storage for fossil power generation. We compare emissions causing particulate matter exposure, freshwater ecotoxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and climate change for the climate-change-mitigation (BLUE Map) and business-as-usual (Baseline) scenarios of the International Energy Agency up to 2050. We use a vintage stock model to conduct an LCA of newly installed capacity year-by-year for each region, thus accounting for changes in the energy mix used to manufacture future power plants. Under the Baseline scenario, emissions of air and water pollutants more than double whereas the low-carbon technologies introduced in the BLUE Map scenario allow a doubling of electricity supply while stabilizing or even reducing pollution. Material requirements per unit generation for low-carbon technologies can be higher than for conventional fossil generation: 11-40 times more copper for photovoltaic systems and 6-14 times more iron for wind power plants. However, only two years of current global copper and one year of iron production will suffice to build a low-carbon energy system capable of supplying the world's electricity needs in 2050.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1312753111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443343PMC
May 2015

Thin-film photovoltaic power generation offers decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing environmental co-benefits in the long term.

Environ Sci Technol 2014 Aug 25;48(16):9834-43. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California , 2400 Bren Hall, Santa Barbara, California 93106-5131, United States.

Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologies have improved significantly recently, and similar improvements are projected into the future, warranting reevaluation of the environmental implications of PV to update and inform policy decisions. By conducting a hybrid life cycle assessment using the most recent manufacturing data and technology roadmaps, we compare present and projected environmental, human health, and natural resource implications of electricity generated from two common thin-film PV technologies-copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride (CdTe)-in the United States (U.S.) to those of the current U.S. electricity mix. We evaluate how the impacts of thin films can be reduced by likely cost-reducing technological changes: (1) module efficiency increases, (2) module dematerialization, (3) changes in upstream energy and materials production, and (4) end-of-life recycling of balance of system (BOS). Results show comparable environmental and resource impacts for CdTe and CIGS. Compared to the U.S. electricity mix in 2010, both perform at least 90% better in 7 of 12 and at least 50% better in 3 of 12 impact categories, with comparable land use, and increased metal depletion unless BOS recycling is ensured. Technological changes, particularly efficiency increases, contribute to 35-80% reductions in all impacts by 2030.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es405539zDOI Listing
August 2014