Distinguished seminar: “Towards a sustainable energy transition: Understanding the life cycle impacts from individual systems to full energy scenarios”


The energy sector is a key driving force of human activities, both at household and industrial levels, but also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants related to different environmental impacts. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widespread standardized tool to evaluate potential environmental impacts of products and services that is particularly suitable to analyze the performance of energy systems. LCA relies on a systemic perspective within the broader framework of Life Cycle Thinking, which accounts for impacts over the entire life cycle of systems, from the first phases of raw materials’ extraction to the use and final disposal phases.

The center Observation, Impacts, Energy of Mines Paris – PSL University works, among others, in the development and reinforcing of LCA methods and tools to provide decision-makers with more relevant information on energy systems’ sustainability. In this session, the research conducted by the center related to environmental impacts and sustainability of energy systems will be illustrated through some examples of application, after a brief reminder of the fundamentals of LCA methodology. Among the systems studied in the center are photovoltaic and wind power systems, as well as geothermal power or bio-sourced energy, such as biogas from microalgae. The research includes the evaluation of environmental impacts and other aspects of sustainability at different levels, that is, from the perspective of an individual energy system (e.g. LCA of a single photovoltaic plant or a single wind turbine) up to the evaluation of a complete energy scenario (both current and future).

Short Bio

Paula Pérez López is an Associate Professor and current Head of the research activities on environmental impacts at the Center Observation, Impacts, Energy (O.I.E.) of Mines Paris – PSL.

She holds a MSc and a PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). She is an expert in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics, wind power, geothermal power, and marine biotechnology, including products from micro- and macroalgae, marine sponges, and other organisms. Her current research at O.I.E. focuses on the development of methods and tools for the LCA of renewable energy technologies and scenarios to better account for spatiotemporal aspects and technological evolutions, including advanced sensitivity analyses. She also works in the development of approaches for the integration of the three dimensions of sustainability, namely environmental, social and economic aspects, for holistic evaluations of systems in the energy transition context.

Through her career, she has collaborated with different EU and US research institutions and private companies, including research visits in AlgaePARC at Wageningen University (The Netherlands), the Limerick Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Northeastern University (Boston, United States). She is currently Junior Editor for the Journal of Cleaner Production and an expert contributing to several working groups including task 12 of the International Energy Agency’s Program on Photovoltaic Systems (PVPS) and the European Commission Working Group on Offshore Renewable Energies. She is the co-author of 27 scientific articles in JCR international journals and 2 book chapters, together with numerous contributions to international conferences.

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Nov 09 2022


10:00 - 11:15


Auditorio IMDEA Energía

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