How can you determine the climate change impacts of sustainable energy systems? A State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry faculty member will show you how geographic data can help with life cycle assessment for new energy systems.
Influence of Geographic Factors on the Life Cycle Climate Change Impacts of Sustainable Energy Systems
Presented by Marie-Odile Fortier, assistant professor in Energy Resources, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a valuable tool to measure the cradle-to-grave climate change impacts of sustainable energy systems that are planned to replace conventional fossil energy-based systems.
Marie-Odile Fortier will cover how geographic data has been integrated into LCAs of energy systems through her research, leading to important conclusions for the sustainability of bioenergy and renewable energy systems. The effects of transportation distances and facility siting on the life cycle climate change impacts of bioenergy systems were investigated through an algal bio-jet fuel LCA and a willow biomass LCA.
In an additional study, methods were developed to incorporate land use and albedo change impacts into a geographically specific LCA model for green gasoline from wastewater microalgae, demonstrating how these impacts vary by ecoregion in the United States.
Most recently, Fortier has completed the first study that shows how the carbon footprint of an ocean energy system changes based on the location installed using site-specific tidal velocity data in developing an LCA model for electricity from tidal turbines.
Improving the geographic specificity of LCA provides crucial data to guide the planning and siting of novel energy systems to optimize a reduction in life cycle climate change impacts.
About the speaker
Marie-Odile Fortier is an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, contributing to the Sustainable Energy Management program since Fall 2015.
She has a doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Kansas (2015) and a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and sciences from the University of Florida (2010).
She was awarded the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award at SUNY ESF, where she teaches Physics of Energy, Energy Systems and Life Cycle Assessment to undergraduate and graduate students from varied disciplines.
Fortier has years of experience in algal bioenergy research, from performing experiments using algal pond reactors at a wastewater treatment plant to conducting sustainability and resource assessment analyses for algal biofuels. Fortier’s research focuses on the geographically specific life cycle environmental impacts, including land use change and albedo change impacts, of sustainable energy systems. She uses life cycle assessment, GIS, and mathematical modeling to investigate whether the carbon footprint of different energy systems varies spatially and she develops new methodology to increase applications of life cycle assessment.