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Life cycle and economic assessment of a solar panel array applied to a short route ferry

Wang, Haibin
Oğuz, Elif
Jeong, Byongug
Zhou, Peilin
This paper was to investigate the potential benefits of solar panel systems if applied for obtaining propulsion power of a short route ferry operating in the Marmara Sea. The life cycle assessment was applied to evaluate the long-term environmental impact of the solar power systems on-board in replace of conventional diesel engine systems. The cost and benefit of such systems were evaluated through the economic assessment where the life cycle cost relative to installation, operation and recycling of the solar panels, fuel savings and payback time were considered. Research findings revealed the payback time would be around three years, whereas the accumulative fuel cost saving would be over $300,000 by the end of vessel life. The sensitivity analysis using two varying parameters - energy efficiency and investment cost - implied, that the longer payback time would be positively associated with lower energy efficiencies and higher investment costs. It was also suggested that the marginal cost of the carbon credit should be $ 190 per tonne or higher to make the shipping business successful.