Quantification of costs and greenhouse gases emissions related to e-fuels production

Nicolas Jean Bernard Campion, Sara Shapiro-Bengtsen, Sebastian Marco Franz, Marie Münster

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Abstract

Sectors such as aviation, shipping, and the chemical industry face challenges to abate their greenhouse gases emissions (GHGs) due to the technical limits of direct electrification. One option often mentioned to reduce the climate impact of these sectors is the use of e-fuels produced from electrolytic hydrogen and nitrogen or carbon. E-fuels are usually called green fuels assuming that 100% of the electricity used to produce the hydrogen originates from renewable power and that carbon is biogenic. However, a local plant optimization suggests that using backup power from the grid limits storage investments, plant oversizing, and, for a given fuel demand, significantly diminishes the e-fuel production cost compared to an off-grid renewable system. This paper presents a method to estimate the life cycle GHGs emissions of e-fuels produced from local renewable power and grid electricity while minimizing production costs. Focusing on e-ammonia, we found that with 2019 hourly grid emissions and prices, the least-cost solution in North Chile (with large solar potential) uses 58% of grid electricity and emits 183 gCO2e/MJNH3. In Denmark, the cheapest option uses 100% of electricity from the grid and emits 109 gCO2e/MJNH3. Compared with the 136 gCO2e/MJNH3 life cycle emissions of ammonia produced from natural gas, this result shows the importance of green grid electricity and transparent emissions tracking and accounting, or a restrictive usage of grid power to avoid the production of "cheaper but dirtier" e-fuels.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event35th International Conference on Efficiency, Cost, Optimization, Simulation and Environmental Impact of Energy Systems
- DGI-Byen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 3 Jul 20227 Jul 2022
Conference number: 35
https://ecos2022.dtu.dk/

Conference

Conference35th International Conference on Efficiency, Cost, Optimization, Simulation and Environmental Impact of Energy Systems
Number35
LocationDGI-Byen
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period03/07/202207/07/2022
Internet address

Keywords

  • Hydrogen
  • Carbon footprint
  • Ammonia
  • Methanol
  • Optimization
  • Emissions
  • Sustainability

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