An energy and carbon life cycle assessment of industrial CHP (combined heat and power) in the context of a low carbon UK

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Abstract

The UK has targets to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to a 1990 baseline. The Transition Pathways research consortium has generated a set of three low carbon UK electrical futures, together with the corresponding technology mixes. All require a significant amount of technological change, including a significant increase in the contribution of CHP (combined heat and power). This study investigates the appropriateness of industrial CHP as a low carbon electricity generation technology for the UK via an environmental LCA (life cycle assessment) case study of an existing industrial CHP plant in UK. The study shows that harnessing the resource of industrial heat via straight forward CHP conversion can generate electricity with lower associated energy and carbon impacts than the current and the 1990 National Grids. However it is apparent that if the grid successfully reduces in carbon intensity, the technology will come at a comparative carbon cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-821
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy
Volume77
Early online date16 Oct 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Combined heat and power
  • Industrial energy
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Transition Pathways

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