Inderscience Publishers

Life cycle analysis of world electricity in the 21st century using the world energy LCA model

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World energy and electricity demand by the year 2100 has been analysed using the World Energy LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) Model. Three energy scenarios are set-up: the current fossil fuel-intensive pattern, as well as renewable-intensive and nuclear-intensive alternatives. The performance of CO2 emissions, resource availability, total investment costs, indirect energy consumption from the life cycle standpoint and total fatality risks are compared between these scenarios. The result shows that the renewable and nuclear scenarios achieve the 1990 CO2 emission level by 2100, while the total investment cost and indirect energy consumption for the renewable scenario would hamper its wide scale adoption. In the case of the current fossil-fuel scenario, coal is used for as much as 53% of primary energy, which gives about a three times higher fatality rate compared with the other scenarios. Although resource availability will not constrain all three scenarios, the marginal production cost of oil and gas will double by the year 2100. As a whole, the nuclear scenario becomes advantageous from the comparisons made in the present study.

Keywords: world electricity analysis, life cycle analysis, resource availability, risk projection, investment cost

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