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A Monte-Carlo Assessment Of The Life Cycle Impacts of Geothermal Energy For Power And Transportation
AdvisorVasquez, Victor R.
Chemical and Materials Engineering
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Increasing awareness of environmental issues surrounding power generationand transportation has increased interest in renewable energy sources such as geothermal.Renewable energy extraction is not without environmental cost, however; drillingoperations and construction of the facilities required for utilization can be resource intensive. Complete life cycle analysis (LCA) allows for impactcomparison between competing methods of power generation. The results are modular, allowingfor use in other product life cycles. One such life cycle is that of the transportation vehicle. An analysis of vehicle life cycles involving geothermal energy is performed employingthe The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model. Geothermal power haslarge variations between plants owing to differences in the hydrothermalreservoir chemistry and thermodynamic conditions. Due to these variations, a stochastic approachwas used to determine the amount of variation that is likely to be seen using this energy source.The results show geothermal power to have low environmental impact relative to othermethods of energy production for use in transportation.