Session 2 - Life cycle analysis (LCA)

The energy sector is moving from a rigid, concentrated system towards a flexible, decentralized one enabling the exchange of energy between many actors. Distributed renewable energy generation is a key element in this new system, offering many (potential) technical, environmental and economic advantages, but their intermittent character and the lack of synchronicity between demand and supply introduce new challenges to the utilities. Storage systems could help mitigating these negative issues, but they require additional costs, and incorporate new environmental problems.
Another key factor in the new energy sector is represented by the growing number of electric vehicles which are populating the urban space, which will need to charge their batteries, thus challenging the electric system’s capacity. However, these vehicles will remain idle most of the time, thus offering an opportunity to electricity storage on their underutilized batteries.
In this paper the environmental consequences of distributed FV generation and storage in electric vehicles in Argentina are explored, following a life cycle perspective. Results show that the Vehicle-to-Grid and Grid-for-Vehicle management strategies will play an important role on demand curve peak-shaving. The scenarios analysis show that the transition to the electric vehicle alone does not ensure lower emissions, if advances in the electricity decarbonization are not accomplished.

Session: 2, Room: B, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:15 to 10:30
Oral presentation in Life cycle analysis (LCA)

Life Cycle Analysis modelling has been applied to an operational Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant, (utilising Cattle Slurry/Grass Silage), currently producing biogas for electricity and heat production, with digestate going to land-spreading. The aim of the research was to evaluate the environmental costs and benefits of coupling the existing plant with Gasification or Pyrolysis systems for the utilisation of digestate from the plant, producing either predominantly Syngas (Gasification) or Oils/Tars (Pyrolysis). Utilisation pathways evaluated as part of the research include the following: Gasification: Syngas to Methanation to Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG); and Pyrolysis: Syngas and bio-oil to dual-fuel electricity production. While the focus of the evaluation will be the potential GHG-eq emissions reductions achievable from the different processing and utilisation pathways, the full range of impact areas are included in the analysis. The analysis will include reflection on the challenges of applying LCA to complex biorefinery/bioenergy systems to inform future methodological developments and guidance.

Session: 2, Room: B, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:00 to 10:15
Oral presentation in Life cycle analysis (LCA)

The circular economy (CE), as opposed to the current linear economy, is seen as a sustainable economic system where the economic growth is decoupled from the resources use, through the reduction and recirculation of natural resources. In the shift towards the CE, quantifying the circularity of products and services (or their contribution to the CE) is crucial in designing policies and business strategies, and prioritizing sustainable solutions based on evidence. This study explores the role of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in assessing the circularity of products and services. A review was made on current LCA case studies assessing progress in the CE, attending to the following aspects: the goal of the studies, the modelling and allocation approaches, the assessment methods used, and their alignment with the CE goals. The results indicate that LCA is one of the most used and comprehensive tools to assess CE. However, the multifunctional and multidimensional nature of the CE strategies impose methodological challenges that are still not solved.

Session: 2, Room: B, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:30 to 09:45
Oral presentation in Life cycle analysis (LCA)

To mitigate climate change and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, more efficient energy production is necessary. Combined heat and power systems (CHPs) are a key technology to reach such an objective, due to its higher energy efficiency than the separate production of heat and electricity. These environmental benefits can be enhanced by using a versatile energy source, such as biomass. The H2020 Hieff-BioPower project is developing an innovative medium-scale biomass CHP technology based on biomass gasification combined with solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). This technology shall reach a high gross electric and overall energy efficiencies (40% and 90% respectively) and is expected to achieve equal-zero gaseous and PM emissions. This study analyses the expected environmental performance of producing heat and electricity with such a technology, using environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The analysis investigates the cradle-to-gate impacts considering different biomass feedstocks and including the manufacturing of the main power plant components (gasifier, gas cleaning unit, SOFC). The preliminary results indicate environmental improvements when compared with state of the art technologies such as internal combustion engines and organic Rankine cycle CHPs.

Session: 2, Room: B, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:45 to 10:00
Oral presentation in Life cycle analysis (LCA)

The USEtox model as one of LCIA models is an instrument to characterize the human toxicity impact. The model measures the intake of metals by population with meat products. The USEtox is the only model including geographical separation and wide database with organic and nonorganic chemicals. However, the USEtox does not provide any regional information, as ecological or geological specifications of areas included into the model. There is also a lack of data about metals concentrations in the database. Current investigation proposes an approach to reduce these limitations using results of bioindication studying– chemical composition of pork meat samples. Results of bioindication express assessing and forecasting changes in biotas under the anthropogenic influence locally in 3 settlements of “Central Asia” district. We extrapolate them into the USEtox model database, to extend it with concentrations of heavy metals Cr, Zn and As in the meat of pork. Characterization factor is proposed to assess their potential toxicity in soil and air in the region “Central Asia”.

Session: 2, Room: B, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:15 to 09:30
Oral presentation in Life cycle analysis (LCA)

In this study, using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, the environmental performances of rice production in Italy considering both conventional rice production (CRP) than organic rice production (ORP) was evaluated. Inventory data were collected by means of surveys in 69 farms located in Northern Italy, 20 for ORP and 49 for CRP.
The best cultivation practice depends on the evaluated impact category and by the specific cultivation practices. On average the impact for ORP are higher than for CRP but, above all for ORP, there is a wide variability of the environmental performances.

Session: 2, Room: B, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:00 to 09:15
Oral presentation in Life cycle analysis (LCA)