Uncertainties related to the identification of the marginal energy technology in consequential life cycle assessments

B.V. Mathiesen, Marie Münster, Thilde Fruergaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

When performing life cycle assessment (LCA) assumptions regarding the energy use are often decisive for the outcome. In this paper, current approaches of identifying marginal electricity and heat technologies for consequential LCAs are challenged. The identification of marginal energy technologies is examined from three angles: The marginal electricity technology is identified in Danish historical and potential future energy systems. The methods of identifying and using marginal electricity and heat technologies in key LCA studies are analysed. Finally, the differences in applying energy system analysis and assuming one marginal technology are illustrated, using waste incineration with energy substitution as a case. The main problem with the current approach is the use of one single marginal technology. It is recommended to use fundamentally different affected technologies and identify these in several possible and fundamentally different future scenarios. If possible, the affected technologies should also be identified based on energy system analyses considering the technical characteristics of the technologies involved. Some results in this paper may be applicable to other affected technologies than energy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume17
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)1331-1338
ISSN0959-6526
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Climate and energy systems
  • Energy systems analysis

Cite this

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title = "Uncertainties related to the identification of the marginal energy technology in consequential life cycle assessments",
abstract = "When performing life cycle assessment (LCA) assumptions regarding the energy use are often decisive for the outcome. In this paper, current approaches of identifying marginal electricity and heat technologies for consequential LCAs are challenged. The identification of marginal energy technologies is examined from three angles: The marginal electricity technology is identified in Danish historical and potential future energy systems. The methods of identifying and using marginal electricity and heat technologies in key LCA studies are analysed. Finally, the differences in applying energy system analysis and assuming one marginal technology are illustrated, using waste incineration with energy substitution as a case. The main problem with the current approach is the use of one single marginal technology. It is recommended to use fundamentally different affected technologies and identify these in several possible and fundamentally different future scenarios. If possible, the affected technologies should also be identified based on energy system analyses considering the technical characteristics of the technologies involved. Some results in this paper may be applicable to other affected technologies than energy.",
keywords = "Climate and energy systems, Energy systems analysis, Energisystemanalyse, Klima og energisystemer",
author = "B.V. Mathiesen and Marie M{\"u}nster and Thilde Fruergaard",
year = "2009",
doi = "10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.04.009",
language = "English",
volume = "17",
pages = "1331--1338",
journal = "Journal of Cleaner Production",
issn = "0959-6526",
publisher = "Elsevier",
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Uncertainties related to the identification of the marginal energy technology in consequential life cycle assessments. / Mathiesen, B.V.; Münster, Marie; Fruergaard, Thilde.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 17, No. 15, 2009, p. 1331-1338.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Uncertainties related to the identification of the marginal energy technology in consequential life cycle assessments

AU - Mathiesen, B.V.

AU - Münster, Marie

AU - Fruergaard, Thilde

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - When performing life cycle assessment (LCA) assumptions regarding the energy use are often decisive for the outcome. In this paper, current approaches of identifying marginal electricity and heat technologies for consequential LCAs are challenged. The identification of marginal energy technologies is examined from three angles: The marginal electricity technology is identified in Danish historical and potential future energy systems. The methods of identifying and using marginal electricity and heat technologies in key LCA studies are analysed. Finally, the differences in applying energy system analysis and assuming one marginal technology are illustrated, using waste incineration with energy substitution as a case. The main problem with the current approach is the use of one single marginal technology. It is recommended to use fundamentally different affected technologies and identify these in several possible and fundamentally different future scenarios. If possible, the affected technologies should also be identified based on energy system analyses considering the technical characteristics of the technologies involved. Some results in this paper may be applicable to other affected technologies than energy.

AB - When performing life cycle assessment (LCA) assumptions regarding the energy use are often decisive for the outcome. In this paper, current approaches of identifying marginal electricity and heat technologies for consequential LCAs are challenged. The identification of marginal energy technologies is examined from three angles: The marginal electricity technology is identified in Danish historical and potential future energy systems. The methods of identifying and using marginal electricity and heat technologies in key LCA studies are analysed. Finally, the differences in applying energy system analysis and assuming one marginal technology are illustrated, using waste incineration with energy substitution as a case. The main problem with the current approach is the use of one single marginal technology. It is recommended to use fundamentally different affected technologies and identify these in several possible and fundamentally different future scenarios. If possible, the affected technologies should also be identified based on energy system analyses considering the technical characteristics of the technologies involved. Some results in this paper may be applicable to other affected technologies than energy.

KW - Climate and energy systems

KW - Energy systems analysis

KW - Energisystemanalyse

KW - Klima og energisystemer

U2 - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.04.009

DO - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.04.009

M3 - Journal article

VL - 17

SP - 1331

EP - 1338

JO - Journal of Cleaner Production

JF - Journal of Cleaner Production

SN - 0959-6526

IS - 15

ER -