Life Cycle Analysis

Fuels

NETL has conducted life cycle studies of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel refined from crude oil; diesel and jet fuel from gasified coal and/or biomass; and ethanol from corn and cellulosic feedstocks.


CCAT NETL CBTL Jet Fuel
The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) has received funding from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy to demonstrate how liquid fuel can be produced from coal and meet the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 greenhouse gas (GHG) requirement for DOD fuel purchases of synthetic fuel. Section 526 of EISA requires that any fuel purchases have a life-cycle CO2 emission less than conventional petroleum fuel. This study evaluates different scenarios for the conversion of coal and biomass to jet fuel using oxygen blown, transport reactor integrated gasifier and Fischer-Tropsch catalyst configurations.
Authors: Tim Skone
Date: February, 2014

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A Parameterized Life Cycle Analysis of Crude from CO₂-Enhanced Oil Recovery
Carbon dioxide-enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) is a tertiary oil extraction technology used after primary and secondary techniques have been used at an oil field. CO2-EOR operators use alternating injection schemes of CO2 and water to reduce the viscosity of crude oil, allowing recovery of a resource that would be otherwise unrecoverable. The primary objective of CO2-EOR is to produce additional crude oil from a mature oil field, but CO2-EOR also sequesters CO2. The National Energy Technology Laboratory's (NETL) life cycle analysis (LCA) model of CO2-EOR is a cradle-to-grave model that accounts for the greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental burdens from CO2-EOR systems. A process-based approach uses parameters that allow comparisons of different operating conditions and characterization of uncertainty. The model leverages existing NETL life cycle data to account for environmental burdens upstream and downstream from the CO2-EOR site, including natural dome and several anthropogenic sources of CO2, petroleum refining, and combustion of finished petroleum products such as gasoline or diesel.
Authors: Tim Skone, Joe Marriot
Date: October, 2013

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The Carbon Footprint of Carbon Dioxide
This presentation examines the carbon footprint of obtaining carbon dioxide. While post-combustion capture at power plants may represent the best near-term opportunity for CO2 capture, there are other sources of CO2 in nature and industry. This analysis accounts for the environmental burdens of CO2 from three alternative sources: natural CO2 domes, natural gas processing plants, and ammonia production plants. This analysis uses a life cycle analysis (LCA) approach for developing data and modeling CO2 systems. The energy and material flows for key processes in the CO2 supply chain were calculated. These processes were then compiled in a model that scaled the flows between processes to arrive at an inventory of environmental burdens on a common basis.
Authors: Tim Skone, Robert James
Date: October, 2013

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Gate-to-Grave Life Cycle Analysis Model of Saline Aquifer Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide
A gate-to-grave life cycle analysis (LCA) model was created to quantify the environmental impacts of the various processes associated with saline aquifer sequestration. The following unit processes are accounted for in this analysis: site preparation, well construction, carbon dioxide sequestration operations, site monitoring, brine management, well closure, and land use. This analysis used an LCA approach for developing data, and modeling saline aquifer sequestration. The energy and material flows for key processes within the gate-to-grave boundaries of the saline aquifer were calculated. These processes were then compiled in a model that scaled the flows between processes to arrive at an inventory of environmental burdens on a common basis (e.g., 1 tonne of carbon dioxide sequestered). 
Authors: Tim Skone, Robert James, Greg Cooney, Matt Jamieson, James Littlefield, Joe Marriott
Date: September, 2013

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Gate-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory and Model of CO₂-Enhanced Oil Recovery
A gate-to-gate life cycle analysis (LCA) model was created to quantify the environmental impacts of the various processes associated with enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The following unit processes are accounted for in this analysis: injection and recovery, bulk separation and storage, gas separation, supporting processes, and land use. This analysis used an LCA approach for developing data, and EOR and gas processing. The energy and material flows for key processes within the gate-to-gate boundaries of the EOR site were calculated. These processes were then compiled in a model that scaled the flows between processes to arrive at an inventory of environmental burdens on a common basis (e.g., 1 barrel of crude produced via EOR). 
Authors: Tim Skone, Robert James, Greg Cooney, Matt Jamieson, James Littlefield, Joe Marriott
Date: September, 2013

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Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Analysis Model for Alternative Sources of Carbon Dioxide
While post-combustion capture at power plants may represent the best near-term opportunity for CO2 capture, there are other sources of CO2 in nature and industry. This analysis accounts for the environmental burdens of CO2 from three alternative sources: natural CO2 domes, natural gas processing plants, and ammonia production plants. This analysis uses a life cycle analysis (LCA) approach for developing data, and modeling CO2 systems. The energy and material flows for key processes in the CO2 supply chain were calculated. These processes were then compiled in a model that scaled the flows between processes to arrive at an inventory of environmental burdens on a common basis (e.g., 1 kilogram of CO2 ready for compression and pipeline transport). 
Authors: James Littlefield, Greg Cooney, Matt Jamieson, Greg Schivley, Joe Marriott
Date: September, 2013

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Analysis of Natural Gas-to-Liquid Transportation Fuels via Fischer-Tropsch
This study models a gas-to-liquids (GTL) system that nominally produces 50,000 bbl/day of fuels fungible in the refined product infrastructure without further refining steps. Specifically, the system produces 15,500 bbl/day of finished motor gasoline, and 34,500 bbl/day of low-density diesel fuel. The study provides an updated evaluation of cost, technical, and environmental performance. With an estimated total as-spent capital cost of 4.3 billion dollars (3.7 – 5.6 billion dollars) or $86,188 ($73,260 - $112,045) per bbl of daily production of Fischer-Tropsch liquids, such a facility would be commercially viable should the market conditions (liquid fuel and natural gas prices) remain as favorable or better throughout the life of the project than during the middle of May 2013. The life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for GTL diesel and gasoline when based on current practices in the natural gas industry are 90.6 g CO2e/MJ and 89.4 g CO2e/MJ, respectively. If the natural gas extraction and processing sector complies with New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), the upstream GHG emissions from natural gas are reduced by 23 percent. The key challenges of GTL are the risk associated with varying gas and product prices, the lack of sustained effort in its development, and its high capital costs. A robust research and development program, besides driving capital cost reductions, can serve the role of sustaining the deep knowledge base in GTL.
Authors: , Jesse Goellner
Date: September, 2013

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Modeling the Uncertainty of Fischer-Tropsch Jet Fuel Life Cycle Inventories with Monte Carlo Situation
NETL used Monte Carlo simulation to model the uncertainty in a life cycle inventory that included 6 pathways for the production of Fischer-Tropsch jet fuel. While the inventory is dominated by carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of the fuel, small changes to the feedstocks can move results above or below the baseline for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. All scenarios have the potential to have life cycle greenhouse gas emissions less than or equal to the life cycle emissions from conventional jet fuel based on uncertainty analysis of the results.
Authors: Tim Skone, Greg Cooney
Date: September, 2012

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Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis of Advanced Jet Propulsion Fuels: Fischer Tropsch Based SPK-1 Case Study
In response to the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), NETL conducted a LCA (LCA) of 10 fuel production pathways using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. These pathways use varying combinations of coal and swithgrass feedstocks and two options for carbon managment (sequestration or enhanced oil recovery). Only greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are inventoried. Comparative analysis of the results demonstrate that higher percentages of biomass result in lower life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when using switchgrass. The choice of carbon management strategy has an effect on the results.
Authors: Tim Skone
Date: September, 2011

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LCA: Ethanol from Biomass
This is a life cycle environmental and cost analysis of ethanol using starch and cellulosic feedstocks. It provides a life cycle comparison of three tiers of technology, three types of biomass feedstocks, and two fuel-blending compositions for a total of 18 distinct pathways. When ethanol is blended with gasoline at an 85/15 ratio between ethanol and gasoline, the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are highly variable due to different feedstock types and ethanol production technologies. The biochemical chemical conversion of cellulosic feedstocks to ethanol has the lowest GHG emissions in this analysis, because of the energy recovered at the ethanol plant.
Authors: Tim Skone, James Littlefield, Gurbakhash Bhander, Tom Davis, Robert Eckard, John Haslbeck, Maura Nippert, Robert Wallace, Joe Marriott, PhD
Date: August, 2011

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Progress Update: Interagency Workgroup on Life Cycle GHG Emissions of Alternative Aviation Fuels
This presentation covers efforts to examine life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of alternative aviation fuels, as led by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory with the support of a multi-disciplinary group of federal, industrial, academic institutions. The primary objective of the workgroup is to develop a set of standard guidance on how to evaluate the life cycle GHG footprint of various alternative jet fuel production pathways using a wide-range of feedstock sources. Application of the guidelines can be used by fuel suppliers, military, and commercial airlines to assess the environmental preferability of a specific fuel production pathway when compared to conventional jet fuel. Workgroup activity status and plans for testing on specific case studies are also discussed.
Authors: Tim Skone
Date: February, 2010

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NETL Petroleum-Based Fuels Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis 2005 Baseline Model
This is a life cycle greenhouse gas model of petroleum fuels. It is representative of U.S. refinery operations using a mix of domestic and imported crude oil. Refinery energy and emissions are allocated to individual refinery products using the volumetric throughput and hydrogen consumption of key unit operations within a petroleum refinery. Results are calculated in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per million Btu (MMBtu) of fuel consumed.
Authors: Chris Nichols
Date: November, 2009

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Framework and Guidance for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Footprints of Aviation Fuels
Federal policies, such as those outlined in Section 526 of EISA 2007, cause federal agencies to institute enforceable guidelines for procuring low carbon alternative fuels. This report provides guidance on how to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in aviation applications. This guidance is based on collaboration among the U.S. Air Force, government agencies, universities, and companies that are actively engaged in assessing GHG emissions from transportation fuels.
Authors: Chris Nichols, David T. Allen, Charles Allport, Kristopher Atkins, Joyce S. Cooper, Robert M. Dilmore, Laura C. Drauker, Kenneth E. Eickmann, Jeffrey C. Gillen, Warren Gillette, W. M. Griffin, William E. Harrison III, James I. Hileman, John R. Ingham, Fred A. Kimler III, Aaron Levy, Cynthia F. Murphy, Michael J. O'Donnell, David Pamplin, Greg Schively, Tim Skone, Shannon M. Strank, Russell W. Stratton, Philip H. Taylor, Valerie M. Thomas, Michael Q. Wang, Thomas Zidow
Date: April, 2009

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Balancing Climate Change, Energy Security, and Economic Sustainability: A Life Cycle Comparison of Diesel Fuel from Crude Oil and Domestic Coal and Biomass Resources
Brief 4-page summary of the near-term benefits of co-gasifying U.S. coal and biomass resources to produce FT diesel; a domestic transportation fuel. The paper summarizes the climate change, energy security, and economic benefits when compared to conventional diesel fuel production from domestic and imported crude oil.
Authors: Chris Nichols, Tim Skone, Kristin Gerdes, Tom Tarka, John Wimer
Date: April, 2009

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Consideration of Crude Oil Source in Evaluating Transportation Fuel GHG Emissions
NETL has analyzed the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of transportation fuels (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel) for the baseline year 2005. Further analysis reveals that producing diesel from imported crude oil results in well-to-tank GHG emissions that are, on average, 59% higher than from domestic crude oil. Imported crude oils are on average heavier and contain higher levels of sulfur and the controls on venting and flaring during crude oil production are not as good as in domestic operations. This report provides a brief summary of methodology and results of these two analyses.
Authors: Chris Nichols, Tim Skone, Kristin Gerdes
Date: March, 2009

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NETLs Capability to Compare Transportation Fuels: GHG Emissions and Energy Security Impacts
Describes the methodology behind the well-to-tank greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimate for U.S. petroleum diesel of 18.4 kg CO2E/MMBtu fuel delivered to the vehicle, lower heating value (LHV) basis. This is the average for the United States in 2005. Presents additional analysis that reveals that producing diesel from imported crude oil results in well-to-tank GHG emissions that are, on average, 59% higher than from domestic crude oil.
Authors: Chris Nichols, Kristin Gerdes
Date: February, 2009

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Development of Baseline Data and Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Petroleum-Based Fuels: Report and Model
This analysis shows results from NETL's life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) model of petroleum-based fuels. It is representative of U.S. refinery operations using a mix of domestic and imported crude oil. Results are expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per million Btu (MMBtu) of fuel consumed. The total well-to-wheel GHG emissions from gasoline 96.3, 95.0, and 92.9 kg CO2e/MMBtu for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, respectively.
Authors: Chris Nichols, Tim Skone, Kristin Gerdes
Date: November, 2008

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LCA of Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Hydrogen Fuel Production in the USA from LNG and Coal
This is a LCA (LCA) that accounts for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production of hydrogen from liquefied natural gas (LNG) via steam methane reforming (SMR) or from coal gasification. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is one option for managing carbon dioxide emissions from hydrogen production.  By employing a CCS system with a 92 percent capture rate at an SMR plant, the life cycle GHG emissions from hydrogen production from LNG are reduced by 64 percent. Gasification of coal is another pathway to hydrogen production, but the GHG emissions are highly variable due to coal mine methane (CMM) emissions. Mitigation of CMM is a key opportunity for improving GHG emissions from the the coal-to-hydrogen pathway.
Authors: Eric Grol, Massood Ramezan, John Ruether
Date: November, 2005

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