Ruiz Méndez, Dora Yesenia; Güereca Hernández, Leonor Patricia
Ocean renewable energies (ORE) hold a great potential, although still at the research and development stage and not yet commercially available. The slow pace in the growth of ORE is largely based on significant uncertainty surrounding the potential effects of ocean technologies in the marine environment. Hence, the goal of this study is to approach the development a LCA characterization factors (CF). A literature review was made to identify the elements of the models and their areas of improvement. Several LCA publications have studied the environmental impact and thus, provide an understanding of ORE. However, most of those investigations are heavily focused on carbon emissions leaving out biodiversity stressors (such as noise, collision, habitat change and others). Up to date, no LCA models exist that address biodiversity affectations due to ocean technologies. Even so, the bibliography shows a few examples for hydropower, fishing, and offshore activities, as well as the premise that land-use models can account for impacts in marine areas too. Among the existent models it was found that because of data limitations, many assumptions are being made to limit uncertainties. Some aspects to consider for the development of CF are: (1) thoroughly analysis of models for each stressor to know the variables involved (how the emission reaches the receptor, which are the thresholds and affectations); (2) species considered (group, number of species); (3) information about the device (technology type, location, area, operation). The integration of biodiversity into LCA models to evaluate present and future ORE developments will provide a better understanding of ocean technologies, delivering information to decide where to install the devices and how to avoid trade-offs.