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Exploring CO2 emissions from renewables: solar PV and geothermal

Solar PV installation at Fort Hunter Liggett, California (source: flickr/ U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 27 Jan 2020

A recent paper looks into CO2 emissions in the process of producing solar cells and compares this to the operation of geothermal power plants. An interesting approach in comparison of both technologies.

In a recently published scientific paper, Prof. D. Chanrasekharam at the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad, India and co-author Prof. G. Ranjith Pathegama of Monash University  in Clayton, Australia look into the lifecycle CO2 emissions of both solar PV equipment and that of geothermal power plants.

The research makes the point that it is pertinent to utilise a combination of renewable energy technologies to curb the use of fossil fuels and fight greenhouse gas emissions.

Essentially, the article looks at the CO2 emissions on the manufacturing of Solar PV cells compared to that of the operations of a geothermal power plant.

The difference is quite remarkable. The lifecycle analysis os solar cells looks at the material needed in producing them, as well as the environmental impact during construction, operation and decommissioning stages.

The article then provides a good overview on the CO2 emissions of geothermal plants throughout their operations.

A rather interesting article in the comparison of these two technologies, while we are kind of missing the CO2 analysis for the construction of geothermal plants.

Source:  “CO2 emissions from renewables: solar pv, hydrothermal and EGS sources”, Chandrasekharam, D. & Ranjith Pathegama, G. Geomech. Geophys. Geo-energ. Geo-resour. (2020) 6: 13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40948-019-00135-y