Main content area

A well-to-wire life cycle assessment of Canadian shale gas for electricity generation in China

Raj, Ratan, Ghandehariun, Samane, Kumar, Amit, Linwei, Ma
Energy 2016 v.111 pp. 642-652
carbon dioxide, coal, electricity, electricity generation, exports, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, life cycle assessment, liquefaction, models, power generation, power plants, rivers, shale, shipping, willingness to pay, Canada, China
China relies heavily on coal for power generation, and the demand for coal in a country of this size makes China the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter; hence China is pursuing greener pathways for power generation. Importing shale gas in the form of LNG from Canada is one such pathway. It starts with the recovery of shale gas in Canada and its export to China. This paper quantifies well-to-wire (WTW) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per kilowatt hour (kWh) of Canadian shale gas-fuelled electricity in China through models. WTW emissions include emissions from recovery, processing, transmission, liquefaction, marine shipping, re-gasification, power plant operations, and electricity transmission and distribution. Four Canadian shale gas reserves – Montney, Horn River, Liard, and Cordova – are considered. The results show that the WTW GHG emissions of Canadian shale gas-fired combined cycle technology range from 567 to 610 gCO2/kWh (57–62% of the GHG emissions from China's present coal-fired electricity), and total well-to-port (WTP) GHG emissions (emissions from recovery, processing, and transmission to a liquefaction facility) range from 7.68 to 13.4 gCO2e/MJ. Sensitivity analysis results show that venting emissions during raw gas processing, flaring rates during well completion, and lifetime productivity of the gas significantly influence WTP emissions.