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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Dec;21(23):13636-41. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3165-4. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Carbon emission from global hydroelectric reservoirs revisited.

Author information

  • 1Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430074, People's Republic of China, lisiyue@wbgcas.cn.

Abstract

Substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from hydropower reservoirs have been of great concerns recently, yet the significant carbon emitters of drawdown area and reservoir downstream (including spillways and turbines as well as river reaches below dams) have not been included in global carbon budget. Here, we revisit GHG emission from hydropower reservoirs by considering reservoir surface area, drawdown zone and reservoir downstream. Our estimates demonstrate around 301.3 Tg carbon dioxide (CO2)/year and 18.7 Tg methane (CH4)/year from global hydroelectric reservoirs, which are much higher than recent observations. The sum of drawdown and downstream emission, which is generally overlooked, represents 42 % CO2 and 67 % CH4 of the total emissions from hydropower reservoirs. Accordingly, the global average emissions from hydropower are estimated to be 92 g CO2/kWh and 5.7 g CH4/kWh. Nonetheless, global hydroelectricity could currently reduce approximate 2,351 Tg CO2eq/year with respect to fuel fossil plant alternative. The new findings show a substantial revision of carbon emission from the global hydropower reservoirs.

PMID:
24943886
DOI:
10.1007/s11356-014-3165-4
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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