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Life cycle analysis of energy supply infrastructure for conventional and electric vehicles

Lucas, Alexandre, Alexandra Silva, Carla, Costa Neto, Rui
Energy policy 2012 v.41 pp. 537-547
Monte Carlo method, carbon, carbon dioxide, case studies, electricity, energy, fossil fuels, gasoline, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure, life cycle assessment, materials life cycle, uncertainty analysis, vehicles (equipment), Portugal
Electric drive vehicle technologies are being considered as possible solutions to mitigate environmental problems and fossil fuels dependence. Several studies have used life cycle analysis technique, to assess energy use and CO₂ emissions, addressing fuels Well-to-Wheel life cycle or vehicle's materials Cradle-to-Grave. However, none has considered the required infrastructures for fuel supply. This study presents a methodology to evaluate energy use and CO₂ emissions from construction, maintenance and decommissioning of support infrastructures for electricity and fossil fuel supply of vehicles applied to Portugal case study. Using Global Warming Potential and Cumulative Energy Demand, three light-duty vehicle technologies were considered: Gasoline, Diesel and Electric. For fossil fuels, the extraction well, platform, refinery and refuelling stations were considered. For the Electric Vehicle, the Portuguese 2010 electric mix, grid and the foreseen charging point's network were studied. Obtained values were 0.6–1.5gCO₂ₑq/km and 0.03–0.07MJₑq/km for gasoline, 0.6–1.6gCO₂ₑq/km and 0.02–0.06 MJₑq/km for diesel, 3.7–8.5gCO₂ₑq/km and 0.06–0.17 MJₑq/km for EV. Monte Carlo technique was used for uncertainty analysis. We concluded that EV supply infrastructures are more carbon and energetic intensive. Contribution in overall vehicle LCA does not exceed 8%.