LNG and Coal Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Title: LNG and Coal Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Author: Pace Global

Date: October 2015

Full Text Article

Summary:

This report highlight important differences between the emissions generated from LNG and coal for power generation, namely that:

  • Existing coal technology for the five LNG export markets analyzed in this study was found to produce approximately 117 percent to 194 percent more emissions on a life cycle basis than the least emissions-intensive case (Low GHG Case) for LNG (1.071 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the installed coal power plant case in Germany compared to 0.494 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the Low GHG German LNG case; and 1.499 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the installed coal power plant case in China compared to 0.510 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the Low GHG China LNG case).
  • Emissions from the average of existing coal-fired power plants in the five LNG export markets were determined to be approximately 139 percent to 148 percent greater on a life cycle basis than the most emissions-intensive case (High GHG Case) for LNG (1.309 tonnes CO2-e/MWH compared to 0.547 to 0.528 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the high LNG case).  The analysis indicated that in the five LNG export markets used in this study, an efficient new-build coal-fired power plant would on average emit 106 percent more emissions from a life cycle perspective than the average low case for LNG (an average of 1.041 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for the new-build power plant case versus 0.506 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for LNG case).
  • Compared to the average High GHG Case for LNG, an efficient new-build coal-fired power plant would emit 92 percent more emissions on a life cycle basis (1.041 tonnes CO2-e/MWH versus 0.542 tonnes CO2-e/MWH for LNG).
  • The majority of emissions for both coal and LNG are emitted during the combustion (power generation) process. 67-74 percent (representing the high and low case) of emissions from natural gas are generated during the combustion cycle, versus an average of 79 percent for an existing coal-fired plant and 77 percent for a typical new-build.
  • Combustion emissions were greater for all coal cases than for LNG. Emissions from raw material acquisition were also generally higher for coal than for LNG. However, processing segment emissions were greater for LNG due to incremental processing requirements such as liquefaction, regasification, and pipeline transport.

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