Objective and subjective evaluation of power plants and their non-radioactive emissions using the analytic hierarchy process
ABSTRACT Non-nuclear power plant emissions are of great concern to the public and to scientists alike. As energy demand tends to rise rapidly, especially in the developing countries, the negative effects to human health and to the environment from gaseous emissions together with hazardous particulate matter released by power plants can no longer be ignored.In this study, the impact of non-radioactive emissions is evaluated with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) by synthesizing objective and subjective criteria. There are five main emissions to be evaluated, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulates or particulate matter (PM). Objective evaluation is achieved by expressing the impact of each emission released in monetary terms following generally accepted market rules, international agreements and protocols. That is, the Euro per kilogram of each emission exceeding a specific limit that should be paid as a penalty for environmental pollution and human health damage. Subjective assessment requires an intuitive expression of the percentage of damage to human health and to the ecosystem that each emission causes. Sensitivity analysis is then used in order to examine how change of input data affects final results. Finally, 10 main types of power plant are evaluated according to the level and kind of emissions they release. These types are coal/lignite, oil, natural gas turbine, natural gas combined cycle (NGCC), nuclear, hydro, wind, photovoltaic, biomass and geothermal.