We have been working with our partners at Bangor University under the auspices of the European funded project Hydro BPT project. The University have recently undertaking one of the first detailed full Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of a High Head Hydro. There has been much talk in the press in terms of embedded energy vs generated energy. How much does it take to produce, install and operate a renewable energy system vs how much useful energy does it generate? In this form of energy accounting. “whats the pay back” is the question in terms of carbon? Up until a few days ago I could not tell you. I knew we were ‘ok’ but in data and facts I could not tell you.
The Hydro BPT project itself is looking at the harnessing of useful energy from the water industry through utilising something called the Break Pressure Tank (BPT). Instead of dissipating this useful energy through a tank because of un-needed pressure they have been researching its harnessing into low-carbon electricity. the project itself is revealing quite a bit of opportunity and also testing some of the technology. The National Trust are on the advisory group for the project along with Dwr Cymru.
The above graph illustrates the major carbon aspects of the Hafod y Llan high head hydro. If we want to further decarbonise a hydro we should focus on the left hand side of the graph. Interestingly as well as building the normal investment financial budget for future hydros the LCA tools also allows us additionally to build a carbon budget. BUT what is the payback I hear you say? On the Hafod y Llan hydro it’s under 7 months which is not bad for something which will probably be there for up to a 100 years! For more information about Hydro BPT please follow the link http://hydro-bpt.eu/ We are now waiting for the LCA results on the Hafod y Porth hydro. There arw quite a few differences in terms of build methodology on the Hafod y Llan system especially in prefabricating many of the components…lets see?
Here is a summary of the main aspects and their payback. (two option in terms of generation 2 Gwh pa vs 1.9 Gwh). Thanks to Dr John Gallagher for all the hard work