MO.3.B || Prospective Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Energy Technologies

Gibon, Thomas; Baustert, Paul; Navarrete Gutiérrez, Tomás; Morales, Marjorie; Hahn Menacho, Álvaro José; Arvesen, Anders

Bioenergy is key in decarbonizing global energy systems, but potential trade-offs are known, e.g. land use and transformation, or water requirements. Bioenergy products include solids, liquids and gas, whose usages and production pathways are multiple; all products do not automatically guarantee efficient decarbonizing. In addition, the variety of feedstocks, as well as variability in agricultural practices and regional conditions complexifies the assessment of the global bioenergy system. We propose here a framework to combine integrated assessment models (IAMs) and life cycle assessment (LCA), in order to capture the large-scale environmental effects of bioenergy deployment. Using the MAgPIE and REMIND IAMs to model agricultural processes as well as large-scale energy carrier production and demand respectively, together with highly-parameterized life cycle inventories for liquid fuels, we demonstrate how LCAs for multiple scenario combinations can be computed quickly. Feedstocks include grass and woody biomass (birch, corn stover, eucalyptus, miscanthus, spruce, straw, switchgrass), grown under various agricultural practices (e.g. irrigated vs. rain-fed), thereafter converted into bioethanol, injected in the petrol market and used in the global economy according to various SSP-compliant scenarios. Relying on the brightway2 and premise python modules, background scenarios are also available, to allow the prospective modelling of regional economies (electricity mixes or industrial efficiencies) until 2060. Additionally, production pathways and life cycle impact assessment methods are regionalized, resulting in a flexible, soft-coupled IAM-LCA framework. Preliminary results show wide variations in the decarbonization potential of latest generation biofuels, as well as potential environmental co-benefits and trade-offs.

Categories: Life Cycle and Circular Economy in Innovation
Tags: Oral