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Report RSE 17002643

LCA of electrical production in Italy: first results

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In the present document the LCA of the Italian electric mix is described. The electric mix was elaborated with a detail “fuel – technology” on the basis of the methodology developed in the guidelines for the LCA of electrical grid components and, more precisely, for the assessment of the impacts of electrical losses. The electricity mix is made up of more than one hundred typologies of plants (i.e.: combinations of fuel and technology) to each of which a life cycle inventory dataset has been associated.

Both secondary data (from database) and primary data (power plants efficiencies, some emission factors, import mix of natural gas) have been utilized.

In general, coal plants result to be the technology with greater impacts. The bituminous coal power plants, indeed, provide a percentage contribution to the overall impact far greater than their share in the electricity mix, for several impact categories. On the contrary natural gas power plants’ share to the overall impact is generally lower than their share in the electricity mix. Exception are climate change and, especially, ozone depletion impacts. The import contributes, always, to a significant percentage of the impacts and for many categories (particularly for ionizing radiation) the percentage is greater than the import share in the mix. Non-thermal renewable source stand out for water resources depletion (hydroelectric) and land use (photovoltaic) impact categories. Results relating to biomass shall be considered with caution since, for some impact categories, they appear to be too sensitive to single processes of the background system.

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