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Tyndall Manchester

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A new review article by Velma Mukoro, Drs Alejandro Gallego Schmid and Maria Sharmina critiques life cycle assessments of renewable energy in Africa

2 September 2021

The rapid growth of Africa’s renewable energy sector calls for concerted efforts of stakeholders to mitigate environmental impacts along the value chain of renewable energy.

Published in Sustainable Consumption and Production, this review article investigates literature on life cycle assessment (LCA) of renewable energy in Africa. The paper examines advancements in LCA research and draws attention to environmental impacts of renewable energy development that are specific to Africa to inform mitigation decisions. Findings show that LCAs are mainly limited to climate change impacts due to decarbonisation of end-use sectors being among policy priorities. Other significant impact categories such as resource depletion in closed looped systems, toxicity from end-of-life processes including ecosystem degradation from landfill leachate are not fully investigated despite the imminent waste challenge on the continent. So far, there are no LCA databases developed for Africa; therefore, assessments are based on global averages from databases developed for European and North American contexts hence creating uncertainty in the reliability of results.

Methodological issues like incomplete coverage of life cycle stages and impact categories and non-representative data affect the applicability of results in mitigation contexts in Africa.

Read the full paper at the link below-

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