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Life cycle assessment of shale gas, LNG and waste in the future UK energy mix

Tagliaferri, C; (2016) Life cycle assessment of shale gas, LNG and waste in the future UK energy mix. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the environmental impacts of novel energy sources and technologies developing in the UK in the near future. The life cycle assessment methodology (LCA) is applied to advanced energy systems in order to develop a comprehensive framework able to identify the most promising energy supplies, in the context of an increased focus on low carbon technologies and the requirement of a stable and secure energy supply. The outcomes of this study provide valuable information to stakeholders and policy makers to be correctly informed, and can help in planning new policy legislations or tune the existing ones. The evolution of the UK energy mix through the recent past till the current times is analysed. Key sources and technologies for the future energy supply are identified and reviewed. Their environmental burdens are not currently quantified; hence, this study develops a number of different LCA models for a future, aware, energy development. First, the study uniquely approaches the LCA analysis of shale gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for the UK as they are expected to play an important role in the future UK energy mix. After that, within the framework of diverting waste from landfill and produce renewable energy, the environmental impacts of an advanced gasification-plasma technology for electricity production are analysed for the treatment of different feedstocks. The technology is compared to other advanced and conventional waste-to-electricity technologies, including pyrolysis and combustion. Bio-Substitute natural gas (Bio-SNG) production from waste through advanced thermal technologies is then studied within the context of de-carbonising the gas grid. This process is compared to biological processes for biomethane production from waste according to current and future energy mixes. The outcomes of this research do not identify a unique trend. The context in which the analysed technologies operate, the basis of the comparisons between different alternatives and the approached perspective of the study, characterize the interpretation of the obtained results. The environmental models developed in this study are suitable for the environmental assessments of energy mixes of different countries. The framework developed also identifies the boundaries, the flows and the alternative scenarios to be considered in parallel social and economic life cycle thinking studies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Life cycle assessment of shale gas, LNG and waste in the future UK energy mix
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Chemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1505796
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