Increasing needs for taller wind turbines with bigger capacities, intended for places with high wind velocities or at higher altitudes, have led to new technologies in the wind energy industry. A recently introduced structural system for onshore wind turbine towers is the hybrid steel tower. Comprehension of the environmental response of this hybrid steel structural system is warranted. Even though life cycle assessments (LCAs) for conventional wind turbine tubular towers exist, the environmental performance of this new hybrid structure has not been reported. The present paper examines the LCA of 185 m tall hybrid towers. Considerations made for the LCA procedure are meticulously described, including particular attention at the erection and transportation stage. The highest environmental impacts arise during the manufacturing stage followed by the erection stage. The tower is the component with the largest carbon emissions and energy requirements. The obtained LCA footprints of hybrid towers are also compared to the literature data on conventional towers, resulting in similar environmental impacts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) with grant agreement RFSRCT-2015-00021. Acknowledgments: The advice of Matos Silva, the technical director of Martifer Metallic Constructions for the development of Tables 3 and 4 is gratefully acknowledged.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- life cycle assessment (LCA); wind turbines; hybrid towers; global warming potential (GWP); renewable energy
- Life cycle assessment (LCA)
- Renewable energy
- Hybrid towers
- Wind turbines
- Global warming potential (GWP)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Optimization
- Energy (miscellaneous)
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment