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Title: Environmental impact assessment and optimization of urban energy systems
Author: Papaioannou, Nicole
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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Over the last century, the world has witnessed rapidly increasing urbanization trends. Consequently, the urban governments of this époque require the measure and monitoring of their cities' expansion, as well as the impacts that this development has on the environment, the economy and the society. The energy sector in particular, plays a determining role in maintaining acceptable conditions in all these domains. The concept of sustainable development appears to combine a number of disciplines, which assess it in different manners. This research attempts to show how a combination of methods can provide further insight to a city's energy system. More specifically, the concepts of life cycle assessment and mixed-integer optimization are brought together and applied to a hypothetical urban energy systems case study looking at three different environmental impacts: global warming potential, resource depletion and air quality. The model chooses the types of energy technologies that are most suitable when aiming to minimize each environmental impact, showing that a carefully selected energy systems design can perhaps achieve lower overall environmental impact within an urban area. Life cycle assessment, material flow analysis and ecological footprint methodologies are further performed on two case studies: a UK eco-town and the city of Toronto. Five energy technology scenarios are compared based on these environmental impact assessment methodologies and conclusions drawn as to which scenario achieves the lowest values. Attention is drawn to stakeholder involvement and how interpretation of environmental impact is 'vulnerable' depending to which priorities are set.
Supervisor: Shah, Nilay Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available