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Small-scale distributed thermal power generation

Hydro-Québec mandated CIRAIG’s International Life Cycle Chair to analyze and compare the environmental profile of different small-scale distributed thermal power generation options, using LCA methodology.

Five distributed thermal power generation systems—two geothermal systems and three solar thermal systems—were compared to a heating system supplied by Hydro-Québec’s grid.


For the thermal power needs of an average-sized household:

  • Solar thermal systems offer no environmental advantages over the heating system supplied by Hydro-Québec’s grid. As for the glazed solar air collector, although its environmental performance is high, its limited ability to meet the heating needs of an average-sized household make it a less interesting option.
  • The potential environmental performance of geothermal systems is superior to that of the other systems given that geothermal systems can meet over 80% of a household’s heating needs.

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