LCA of key technologies for future electricity supply—68th LCA forum, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, 16 April, 2018 - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment Year : 2018

LCA of key technologies for future electricity supply—68th LCA forum, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, 16 April, 2018

Abstract

The 68th LCA forum was held on 16 April, 2018, to discuss current and future developments in the electricity network as well as recent life cycle assessment work on key technologies, such as batteries, photovoltaic panels and geothermal power plants. Several countries adjusted their energy policy after the three core meltdowns in Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, in March 2011 and are redefining their climate policy as a consequence of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Method: During the one-day workshop, the current state of the Swiss energy and climate policy and key technologies suited to support the shift towards a renewable electricity mix were explored. Photovoltaics are considered a key technology for power generation in the Swiss electricity mix. It was shown how much an increase in PV production entails investments in the electricity networks and how such investments can be minimised. Batteries were named as one promising option. Several presentations showed the environmental footprints of current and future battery technologies and manufacturing. Recent LCA work on batteries using industry data showed that in the past; the environmental impacts of lithium-ion battery manufacture were often underestimated. However, the potential to reduce its current environmental footprint is rather huge and achievable with only a few measures. The day was concluded with presentations on the LCA of geothermal power production. This technology is particularly of interest as it delivers base load electricity. While the environmental footprint of geothermal power is comparable to hydroelectric and wind power, seismic risks and earthquakes may cause damage to buildings and infrastructure which are non-negligible. Results: The day revealed the following three key insights: (1) The Swiss (and other nations’) climate policy measures are not sufficient for reaching the 2 °C target of the Paris Agreement; (2) photovoltaic electricity combined with battery storage is one solution to increase the share of renewables in the grid. Like with any self-sufficiency measures, this comes along with significant additional environmental impacts; (3) more and more companies are starting to green their supply chains. Conclusion: National governments are encouraged to significantly strengthen their climate policy. Households should carefully evaluate the optimal level of self-sufficiency, taking into account the environmental impacts of storage facilities. Companies should invest in and use renewable energy, such as wind and photovoltaics and use recycled materials, such as secondary copper to reduce the environmental impacts of their products and services.

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Earth Sciences
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hal-03702880 , version 1 (23-06-2022)

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Rolf Frischknecht, Christian Bauer, Christof Bucher, Linda Ager-Wick Ellingsen, Lukas Gutzwiller, et al.. LCA of key technologies for future electricity supply—68th LCA forum, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, 16 April, 2018. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2018, 23 (8), pp.1716-1721. ⟨10.1007/s11367-018-1496-y⟩. ⟨hal-03702880⟩

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