Impact of power generation mix on life cycle assessment and carbon footprint greenhouse gas results

Impact of power generation mix on life cycle assessment and carbon footprint greenhouse gas results / Marriott, J., Matthews, H.S. & Hendrickson, C.T. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 14(6), 2010, pp. 919-928.

The mix of electricity consumed in any stage in the life cycle of a product, process, or industrial sector has a significant effect on the associated inventory of emissions and environmental impacts because of large differences in the power generation method used. Fossil-fuel-fired or nuclear-centralized steam generators; large-scale and small-scale hydroelectric power; and renewable options, such as geothermal, wind, and solar power, each have a unique set of issues that can change the results of a life cycle assessment. This article shows greenhouse gas emissions estimates for electricity purchase for different scenarios using U.S. average electricity mix, state mixes, state mixes including imports, and a sector-specific mix to show how different these results can be. We find that greenhouse gases for certain sectors and scenarios can change by more than 100%. Knowing this, practitioners should exercise caution or at least account for the uncertainty associated with mix choice. (© Wiley)


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