Publications by authors named "Kevin Langham"

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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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January 2017