The Nordex Group takes into account different ecological aspects, such as material selection and recyclability, right from the design stage of wind turbines, as well as during their construction, installation, service and recycling/recovery. In order to assess the environmental impact of our products and identify further optimization possibilities, the Nordex Group is carrying out Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) in compliance with the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards, subjecting them to external verification according to EPDItaly requirements within the framework of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).
The first LCA was published in 2020, for the N149/4.0-4.5 wind turbine with a 105 m steel tower. Now, two more LCAs are available, one for the N155/5.X with a 105 m steel tower and one for the N163/5.X with a 120 m concrete tower.
CLIMATE IMPACT RESULTS
A key LCA indicator is climate impact, which relates the emitted greenhouse gases to the energy yield over the entire lifecycle of a wind turbine. In the new wind farms analyzed, values of 5.5 g CO2e/kWh were recorded for N155/5.X and 2.7 g CO2e/kWh for N163/5.X. By way of comparison, in the case of N149/4.0-4.5, the climate impact was 6.5 g CO2e/kWh and 475 g CO2e/kWh for the overall energy mix.
The results of our analyses underline the very low specific carbon footprint of wind energy and also show that this will continue to be reduced with new turbine models, thanks to performance improvements and lifetime extension measures. Compared to our Delta4000 wind turbine, analyzed in 2020, the two new LCAs show a decrease in climate impact of 15% and 58% respectively.
RESULTS OF ENERGY AND CO2e PAYBACK TIME
In addition to the climate impact of wind turbines, LCAs also make it possible to calculate other important indices, such as energy and CO2e payback time. The energy payback time is the time during which a wind turbine must operate to offset the amount of energy it consumes during its entire life cycle. In the case of our Delta4000 turbines, payback time ranges from 5.0 to 7.7 months. The energy payback time for photovoltaic systems, on the other hand, is between one and two years. The CO2e payback time indicates the time during which a wind turbine must operate in order offset such CO2e emissions as it could potentially produce over its entire life cycle. The N149/4.0-4.5 wind turbine CO2e payback time is approximately 4.5 months of operation. For the N155/5.X and N163/5.X, this value is less than four and two months, respectively.
(Teaser Picture: Vidar Kleivhaug)