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Greenhouse gas implications of using coal for transportation: Life cycle assessment of coal-to-liquids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen pathways

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  • Jaramillo, Paulina
  • Samaras, Constantine
  • Wakeley, Heather
  • Meisterling, Kyle
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    Abstract

    Using coal to produce transportation fuels could improve the energy security of the United States by replacing some of the demand for imported petroleum. Because of concerns regarding climate change and the high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with conventional coal use, policies to encourage pathways that utilize coal for transportation should seek to reduce GHGs compared to petroleum fuels. This paper compares the GHG emissions of coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuels to the emissions of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) powered with coal-based electricity, and to the emissions of a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) that uses coal-based hydrogen. A life cycle approach is used to account for fuel cycle and use-phase emissions, as well as vehicle cycle and battery manufacturing emissions. This analysis allows policymakers to better identify benefits or disadvantages of an energy future that includes coal as a transportation fuel. We find that PHEVs could reduce vehicle life cycle GHG emissions by up to about one-half when coal with carbon capture and sequestration is used to generate the electricity used by the vehicles. On the other hand, CTL fuels and coal-based hydrogen would likely lead to significantly increased emissions compared to PHEVs and conventional vehicles using petroleum-based fuels.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 2689-2695

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:7:p:2689-2695

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    Keywords: Coal Transportation Greenhouse gases;

    References

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    1. Shiau, Ching-Shin Norman & Samaras, Constantine & Hauffe, Richard & Michalek, Jeremy J., 2009. "Impact of battery weight and charging patterns on the economic and environmental benefits of plug-in hybrid vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2653-2663, July.
    2. Bradley, Thomas H. & Frank, Andrew A., 2009. "Design, demonstrations and sustainability impact assessments for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 115-128, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Lenski, Shoshannah M. & Keoleian, Gregory A. & Moore, Michael R., 2013. "An assessment of two environmental and economic benefits of ‘Cash for Clunkers’," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 173-180.
    2. Krupa, Joseph S. & Rizzo, Donna M. & Eppstein, Margaret J. & Brad Lanute, D. & Gaalema, Diann E. & Lakkaraju, Kiran & Warrender, Christina E., 2014. "Analysis of a consumer survey on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 14-31.
    3. Eppstein, Margaret J. & Grover, David K. & Marshall, Jeffrey S. & Rizzo, Donna M., 2011. "An agent-based model to study market penetration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3789-3802, June.
    4. Yeh, Sonia & Sperling, Daniel, 2010. "Low carbon fuel standards: Implementation scenarios and challenges," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6955-6965, November.
    5. Xunmin Ou & Xiaoyu Yan & Xu Zhang & Xiliang Zhang, 2013. "Life-Cycle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis for Bio-Liquid Jet Fuel from Open Pond-Based Micro-Algae under China Conditions," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 4897-4923, September.
    6. Anadón, Laura Díaz, 2012. "Missions-oriented RD&D institutions in energy between 2000 and 2010: A comparative analysis of China, the United Kingdom, and the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 1742-1756.
    7. Ou, Xunmin & Zhang, Xiliang & Chang, Shiyan, 2010. "Alternative fuel buses currently in use in China: Life-cycle fossil energy use, GHG emissions and policy recommendations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 406-418, January.
    8. Ou, Xunmin & Zhang, Xiliang & Chang, Shiyan, 2010. "Scenario analysis on alternative fuel/vehicle for China's future road transport: Life-cycle energy demand and GHG emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 3943-3956, August.
    9. Brathwaite, J. & Horst, S. & Iacobucci, J., 2010. "Maximizing efficiency in the transition to a coal-based economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 6084-6091, October.
    10. Weiller, Claire, 2011. "Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle impacts on hourly electricity demand in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3766-3778, June.

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