LCA of Energy Systems

Alexis Laurent, Nieves Espinosa Martinez, Michael Zwicky Hauschild

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterEducationpeer-review


Energy systems are essential in the support of modern societies’ activities, and can span a wide spectrum of electricity and heat generation systems and cooling systems. Along with their central role and large diversity, these systems have been demonstrated to cause serious impacts on human health , ecosystems and natural resources. Over the past two decades, energy systems have thus been the focus of more than 1000 LCA studies, with the aim to identify and reduce these impacts. This chapter addresses LCA applications to energy systems for generation of electricity and heat . The chapter gives insight into the LCA practice related to such systems, offering a critical review of (i) central methodological aspects, including the definition of the goals and scopes of the studies, their coverage of the system life cycle and the environmental impacts, and (ii) key findings of the studies, particularly aimed at identifying environmental hotspots and impact patterns across different energy sources. Based on this literature review recommendations and guidelines are issued to LCA practitioners on key methodological aspects that are important for a proper conduct of LCA studies of energy systems and thus ensuring the reliability of the LCA results provided to decision- and policy-makers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife Cycle Assessment: Theory and practice
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9783319564746
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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