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Effect of methane leakage on the greenhouse gas footprint of electricity generation

Climatic Change, vol.133 no.2, pp 169-17, November 2015


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Resource information:
Resource IDsanchez2015
Resource titleEffect of methane leakage on the greenhouse gas footprint of electricity generation
Author(s)Nicolas Sanchez, David C. Mays
Publication/ sourceClimatic Change, vol.133 no.2, pp 169-17
Date publishedNovember 2015
Summary text/ abstractFor the purpose of generating electricity, what leakage rate renders the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of natural gas equivalent to that of coal? This paper answers this question using a simple model, which assumes that the comprehensive GHG footprint is the sum of the carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions resulting from (1) electricity generation and (2) natural gas leakage. The emissions resulting from electricity generation are taken from published life-cycle assessments (LCAs), whereas the emissions from natural gas leakage are estimated assuming that natural gas is 80% methane, whose global warming potential (GWP) is calculated using equations provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Results, presented on a straightforward plot of GHG footprint versus time horizon, show that natural gas leakage of 2.0% or 4.8% eliminates half of natural gas's GHG footprint advantage over coal at 20- or 100-year time horizons, respectively. Leakage of 3.9% or 9.1% completely eliminates the GHG footprint advantage at 20- and 100-year time horizons, respectively. A two-parameter power law approximation of the IPCC's equation for GWP is utilized and gives equivalent results. Results indicate that leakage control is essential for natural gas to deliver a smaller GHG footprint than coal.
Library categoriesClimate Change, Extr. Energy Climate
Added to Free Range Library27/05/2016
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file iconEffect of methane leakage on the greenhouse gas footprint of electricity generation [432.6 kilobytes]


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