Life Cycle Analysis

Liquefied Natural Gas

Unconventional extraction technologies have increased the production potential of natural gas in the U.S., making the export of natural gas an important policy consideration. Natural gas pipelines allow the transport of natural gas over land, but the liquefaction of natural gas makes oversea transport of natural gas possible. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is 1/600th the volume of its gaseous state and is transported by specially designed ocean tankers. In addition to LNG ocean tankers, liquefaction and regasification facilities are required at export and import terminals, respectively.


LCA GHG Report (LNG Report)
This analysis calculates the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from imported natural gas and regional coal used by power plants in Europe and Asia. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exported from the U.S. and combusted by power plants in Europe or Asia was compared to regional coal combusted by power plants in Europe and Asia. This analysis also calculates the GHG emissions from natural gas that is extracted in Russia and delivered by pipeline to European and Asian power plants. This analysis is based on data that were originally developed to represent U.S. energy systems. Foreign natural gas and coal production were modeled as representative of U.S. natural gas production and average U.S. coal production. The results show that the use of U.S. LNG exports for power production in European and Asian markets will not increase GHG emissions, on a life cycle perspective, when compared to regional coal extraction and consumption for power production. This analysis is based on data that were originally developed to represent U.S. energy systems. 
Authors: Tim Skone
Date: May, 2014

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Natural Gas and Power LCA Model Documentation (NG Report)
Natural gas is considered a cleaner burning and more flexible alternative to other fossil fuels today. It is used in residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation applications in addition to having an expanding role in power production. However, the primary component of natural gas is methane, which is also a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG). Methane losses from natural gas extraction vary geographically and by extraction technology. This analysis expands upon previous life cycle analyses (LCA) of natural gas power generation technologies performed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). It inventories the GHG emissions from extraction, processing, and transmission of natural gas to large end users, and the combustion of that natural gas to produce electricity. It includes scenarios for the 2010 average natural gas production mix as well as for natural gas produced from the next highly productive well for each source of natural gas. This context allows an analysis of what the emissions are currently and what they could be in the future. In addition to GHG emissions, this analysis inventories other air emissions, water quality, water use, land use, and resource energy metrics.

Authors: Tim Skone
Date: May, 2014

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