Building national emission inventories for the energy sector: Implications for life cycle assessment and nations environmental footprinting

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Abstract

Environmentally-extended multi-region input-output (EE-MRIO) models allow calculating environmental impacts of goods and services in a supply-chain perspective. However, current EE-MRIO databases only have limited coverage of toxic pollutant emissions. This limited coverage is caused by the fact that public emission databases currently provide a rather modest pollutant coverage, are restricted to a limited number of countries, and lack differentiation in terms of sectors. This therefore calls for alternative data sources and inventorying techniques. Using the production of heat and electricity as a case study, we investigate the usability of available process-based inventories like the ecoinvent database from the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to build national emission inventories of pollutants. We thus develop the ecoinvent-based National Energy-related Emission (ENEE) inventory, comprising a total of 231 airborne emissions and 87 waterborne emissions of pollutants from heat and electricity power plants in 140 countries over the period 1995-2014. Using the improved data sets, we demonstrate that extending the coverage of pollutants beyond the few commonly-reported ones, like greenhouse gases, has a significant influence on the quantification of other important environmental impacts such as ionizing radiation and impacts of toxic substances to freshwater ecosystems. The ENEE inventory is an important first step towards building comprehensive inventories of pollutant emissions from power and heat generation, thus enabling more complete assessments of the energy sector. It also exemplifies the gains that can be made when introducing process-based data to complement public national and sectoral data for life cycle assessments and nations environmental footprinting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135119
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume708
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Cite this

@article{83667bf5c63f45758ad09dd205e849db,
title = "Building national emission inventories for the energy sector: Implications for life cycle assessment and nations environmental footprinting",
abstract = "Environmentally-extended multi-region input-output (EE-MRIO) models allow calculating environmental impacts of goods and services in a supply-chain perspective. However, current EE-MRIO databases only have limited coverage of toxic pollutant emissions. This limited coverage is caused by the fact that public emission databases currently provide a rather modest pollutant coverage, are restricted to a limited number of countries, and lack differentiation in terms of sectors. This therefore calls for alternative data sources and inventorying techniques. Using the production of heat and electricity as a case study, we investigate the usability of available process-based inventories like the ecoinvent database from the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to build national emission inventories of pollutants. We thus develop the ecoinvent-based National Energy-related Emission (ENEE) inventory, comprising a total of 231 airborne emissions and 87 waterborne emissions of pollutants from heat and electricity power plants in 140 countries over the period 1995-2014. Using the improved data sets, we demonstrate that extending the coverage of pollutants beyond the few commonly-reported ones, like greenhouse gases, has a significant influence on the quantification of other important environmental impacts such as ionizing radiation and impacts of toxic substances to freshwater ecosystems. The ENEE inventory is an important first step towards building comprehensive inventories of pollutant emissions from power and heat generation, thus enabling more complete assessments of the energy sector. It also exemplifies the gains that can be made when introducing process-based data to complement public national and sectoral data for life cycle assessments and nations environmental footprinting.",
author = "Leclerc, {Alexandra Segolene Corinne} and Hauschild, {Michael Zwicky} and Richard Wood and Alexis Laurent",
year = "2020",
doi = "10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135119",
language = "English",
volume = "708",
journal = "Science of the Total Environment",
issn = "0048-9697",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Building national emission inventories for the energy sector: Implications for life cycle assessment and nations environmental footprinting

AU - Leclerc, Alexandra Segolene Corinne

AU - Hauschild, Michael Zwicky

AU - Wood, Richard

AU - Laurent, Alexis

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - Environmentally-extended multi-region input-output (EE-MRIO) models allow calculating environmental impacts of goods and services in a supply-chain perspective. However, current EE-MRIO databases only have limited coverage of toxic pollutant emissions. This limited coverage is caused by the fact that public emission databases currently provide a rather modest pollutant coverage, are restricted to a limited number of countries, and lack differentiation in terms of sectors. This therefore calls for alternative data sources and inventorying techniques. Using the production of heat and electricity as a case study, we investigate the usability of available process-based inventories like the ecoinvent database from the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to build national emission inventories of pollutants. We thus develop the ecoinvent-based National Energy-related Emission (ENEE) inventory, comprising a total of 231 airborne emissions and 87 waterborne emissions of pollutants from heat and electricity power plants in 140 countries over the period 1995-2014. Using the improved data sets, we demonstrate that extending the coverage of pollutants beyond the few commonly-reported ones, like greenhouse gases, has a significant influence on the quantification of other important environmental impacts such as ionizing radiation and impacts of toxic substances to freshwater ecosystems. The ENEE inventory is an important first step towards building comprehensive inventories of pollutant emissions from power and heat generation, thus enabling more complete assessments of the energy sector. It also exemplifies the gains that can be made when introducing process-based data to complement public national and sectoral data for life cycle assessments and nations environmental footprinting.

AB - Environmentally-extended multi-region input-output (EE-MRIO) models allow calculating environmental impacts of goods and services in a supply-chain perspective. However, current EE-MRIO databases only have limited coverage of toxic pollutant emissions. This limited coverage is caused by the fact that public emission databases currently provide a rather modest pollutant coverage, are restricted to a limited number of countries, and lack differentiation in terms of sectors. This therefore calls for alternative data sources and inventorying techniques. Using the production of heat and electricity as a case study, we investigate the usability of available process-based inventories like the ecoinvent database from the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to build national emission inventories of pollutants. We thus develop the ecoinvent-based National Energy-related Emission (ENEE) inventory, comprising a total of 231 airborne emissions and 87 waterborne emissions of pollutants from heat and electricity power plants in 140 countries over the period 1995-2014. Using the improved data sets, we demonstrate that extending the coverage of pollutants beyond the few commonly-reported ones, like greenhouse gases, has a significant influence on the quantification of other important environmental impacts such as ionizing radiation and impacts of toxic substances to freshwater ecosystems. The ENEE inventory is an important first step towards building comprehensive inventories of pollutant emissions from power and heat generation, thus enabling more complete assessments of the energy sector. It also exemplifies the gains that can be made when introducing process-based data to complement public national and sectoral data for life cycle assessments and nations environmental footprinting.

U2 - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135119

DO - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135119

M3 - Journal article

C2 - 31806307

VL - 708

JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

M1 - 135119

ER -