Applications of Life Cycle Assessment to Electricity and Transportation Fuel Industries in Thailand

Program : Environmental and Energy Management Technology (B8-1)

At present, climate change especially global warming caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel combustion has become a critical environmental issue throughout the world. It has been shown that the major sources of GHG emissions are from fossil-based electricity generation and combustion of fossil-based transportation fuels. This has driven improvements on technology and energy efficiency as well as extensive exploration on the use of non-fossil energy sources to reduce environmental impacts. It is necessary to adapt a life cycle approach to accurately evaluate and fairly compare energy, environmental, and cost performances of various electricity generation systems and between conventional and alternative transportation fuels.

In response to this, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pomthong Malakul Na Ayudhaya and his team at the Environmental Management Laboratory (EnviLab) have conducted Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and PTT Public Co., Ltd. to evaluate the eco-efficiency of various electricity systems and transportation fuels in Thailand. Acting as the project leader, the EnviLab group has teamed up with the Chemical Technology Department and The Petroleum and Petrochemical College of Chulalongkorn University, The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE), and Chemical Engineering Department of Kasetsart University to develop the Environmental Performance Indicators (EPI) based on GHG for various electricity generation and transportation fuel systems as shown below.

 

Project Benefit :

The resulting indicators can be conveniently used to compare environmental aspect (GHG) to cost (฿) for various electricity generation and transportation fuel systems based on energy value (kWh or MJ). This is beneficial for potential improvements in technology or efficiency and in policy planning for industries and the Government. For electricity generation, it shows that electricity generated from renewable sources has lower life cycle GHG emissions than the systems using non-renewable fuels but some still involve higher costs such as solar and wind systems. For transportation fuels, biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol show CO2 savings from replacing fossil-based fuels. A sample analysis can show that use of gasohol (E10) for the whole country can reduce GHG emissions by 2 million tons CO2 eq. per year whereas use of biodiesel (B5) could lead to a reduction of 1 million tons CO2 eq. per year, equivalent to a carbon credit of 1 billion Baht per year.

 

Project Leader :

Assist.Prof.Pomthong Malakul Na Ayudhaya (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Research Team :

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Pornpoj Piamsomboon, Assit.Prof.Dr.Manit Nithitanakul, Dr. Shabbir H.Gheewala, Seksan Papong, Warunee Kaewboran, Soottiwan Noksa-nga, Tassaneewan Chom-in, Pechda Wenunun, Kittipoj Datchaneekul