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BALCAR – Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Hydroelectric Reservoirs


Quantifying greenhouse gas (GG) emissions from artificial lakes involves reasonable uncertainty, making it necessary to improve the knowledge of the processes that mediate gas fluxes in such aquatic environments.




BALCAR project has as one of its objectives to produce reference documents for the quantitative evaluation of GG emissions from hydropower reservoirs, including a literature review of state-of-the-art knowledge on the carbon cycle in reservoirs and a document containing guidelines for the elaboration of quantitative analyses of net GG emissions in hydropower reservoirs. Such document is projected to be edited in two volumes: 1) on measurement and data analysis campaigns; 2) focusing on modeling. The literature review and the first volume of the guidelines were published in December 2012. The second volume of the guidelines – Guidelines for Quantitative Analysis of Net GHG Emissions from Reservoirs: Modeling was released during the Hydro 2015 – Advancing Policy and Practice in Bordeaux, France. (Click here to download the presentation of Balcar project: Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Hydropower Reservoirs)


The project involves field campaigns to perform measurements and analyses in a set of 11 hydropower plants (existing and planned) representing the various Brazilian biomes. In 2011/2012, four campaigns were conducted in each locality.


The project also contemplates the use of the data collected in campaigns for the development, calibration and validation of numerical models based on mathematical description of the main processes involved in carbon balance in reservoirs. The simulations of such models allow for the quantitative evaluation of GG emissions in hydropower reservoirs in long-term studies.


Indicators are calculated by dividing the emissions in tonnes of equivalent CO2 obtained by the electric power generation and comparing with the equivalent values for fossil fuel plants.








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