Main content area

The striking amount of carbon emissions by the construction stage of coal-fired power generation system in China

Wu, X.D., Guo, J.L., Chen, G.Q.
Energy policy 2018 v.117 pp. 358-369
carbon, carbon dioxide, coal, combustion, concrete, databases, equipment, greenhouse gas emissions, input output analysis, inventories, issues and policy, life cycle assessment, power generation, power plants, China, France, United Kingdom
Based on an extensive review of related studies, the striking amount of carbon emissions induced by the construction stage of a typical 2 × 660 MW coal-fired power generation system is revealed, by means of systems LCA as a concrete hybrid of process analysis and input-output analysis. Differing from previous works that simply treat the whole inputs in the construction stage as some primary materials, this study inclusively covers all input items as products of the economy, supported by input-output database. An integrated inventory that contains over seventy items is established, in which the materials, equipment, and services inputs throughout the construction stage are given full consideration. In magnitude, the greenhouse gas emissions embodied in the construction stage of the power plant are calculated in carbon dioxide equivalent as 1.54% of those from coal combustion, which are several times or even one order of magnitude higher than that estimated in some previous studies. The emissions induced by coal-fired power generation infrastructure in China are accordingly estimated, in magnitude up to 0.6%, one-eighth and one-sixth of the total national emissions in China, UK and France, respectively. The outcome provides a unique perspective for policy makers into apprehending carbon emissions by the power sector.