1997-04-08

Life Cycle Value Assessment (LCVA) for Alternative Transportation Fuel Decisions 971169

Transportation, with its high energy consumption, is commonly recognized as a major contributor to local, regional, and global environmental impacts. With around 95% of transportation energy originating from petroleum and an increasing emphasis on the associated environmental impacts, alternative transportation fuels are receiving great attention from industry, government, researchers, and the public. When the motivation for developing alternative fuels is to reduce environmental impact, a rigorous tool is needed for comparing the effects of very different alternative and conventional fuels. Such an evaluation tool must consider not only the effects of fuel combustion, but also the effects of producing, refining/processing, distributing, and disposing of wastes associated with that fuel… in other words, the life cycle effects of the fuel.
This paper develops a Life Cycle Value Assessment (LCVA) methodology for comparing the potential life cycle environmental impacts of automotive fuels. Unlike various life cycle assessments (LCA) and “full-fuel-cycle” analyses previously reported, this treatment is designed specifically for automotive fuels. It gives the ability to assess the potential life cycle environmental impacts and key economic aspects of different fuels. It also has an open architecture which allows ready application of new research data or varying economic factors. Potential environmental impacts are calculated using different stressor categories with impact ranging from global to local: 1. Greenhouse Gases. 2. Acid Rain Precursors. 3. Ground Level Ozone Precursors. 4. Hazardous Air Pollutants. The paper describes the LCVA methodology and background for a comparison of conventional gasoline, ethanol-blended gasoline, and natural gas.

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