The environmental impact of energy consumption depends on the energy system and the type of resources used. The method to be applied for a comprehensive ecological assessment of systems is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The doctoral project at hand aims to compare and assess different sets of methods, rules or guidelines for determining the environmental effects.
The guidelines in literature very often have a different focus on what to evaluate or what rules to follow. The choice of the most suitable life cycle inventory and impact assessment method for answering a given question is challenging. This project aims to determine and compare various methods and tools with the focus on using them to perform an LCA study for energy systems. The evaluation has its focus on methods used in LCA studies of energy systems (on a technology basis and for the power supply of an entire region).
The dissertation investigates the ecological assessment of energy systems at different scales like the assessment of technologies, processes, regions or supply chains.
The project starts with a comprehensive literary research on methods and guidelines for the ecological evaluation of energy systems. The aim is to answer the following questions: What is “best practice”? What methods are used the most in literature?
The next step is a comparison of the methods. Various criteria are defined to provide a systematic comparison. Therefore, the requirements for analyzing energy systems are examined and defined, paying special attention to problems, data gaps, and weaknesses that can be found in literature.
Criteria for the review will be, for example:
• Which impact categories are considered?
• How can system borders be set; is a lifecycle approach required?
• How can the allocation of coproducts be handled (heat and electricity)?
• Does an international or regional standard or guideline exist?
• How can uncertainties be handles or indicated?
In addition, different energy systems and methods are selected for carrying out case studies. Differences will be evaluated and it will be determined to what degree systems are sensitive to changes in methods.
This evaluation is the starting point for developing a guideline for future evaluations. The result is an easy-to-apply and easy to understand evaluation method for energy systems. Emphasis is put on the applicability to different energy generation systems and an the question how well the method can be handled and used in a company.
Funding agencies, research & cooperation partners
Project team and project manager
DI DI(FH) Jürgen KrailEnergy and Environmental ManagementCampus Pinkafeld
Schwerpunkte in Forschung und Lehre:
Energieverfahrenstechnik, Regenerative Energiesysteme mit Schwerpunkt Biomasse, Prozesssimulation, Technische Akustik, Emissionsmesstechnik und akustische Messtechnik