Comparison of Energy Systems using Life Cycle Assessment

Since the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was developed about 30 years ago many studies have been conducted using the LCA approach to analyse the environmental impacts of all sorts of activities, including energy production and use.

LCA has provided a unified approach for the comparison of different energy systems and the aim of 'Comparison of Energy Systems Using Life Cycle Analysis' is to compile, from existing studies, an overview, comparing these diverse energy systems based on full LCA.

The report looks at LCA in the context of electricity production, space heating and transport and makes the point that it should be treated as just one of a number of techniques available for analysing options and contributing to a decision making process. LCA's are normally carried out for a specific purpose and generalising from the particular without the balance of other analysis can be very risky and lead to bad decision making.

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