Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Fuels for Western Australia’s Transport Sector
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© 2019 The Authors. Published by MDPI Publishing.
Alternative fuels for the transport sector are being emphasized due to energy security and environmental issues. Possible alternative fuel options need to be assessed to realize their potential to alleviate environmental burdens before policy formulations. Western Australia (WA) is dominated by private cars, accounting for around 72% vehicles with 87% of those using imported gasoline, and resulting in approximately 14% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector. There is an urgent need for WA to consider alternative transport fuels not only to reduce the environmental burden but also to avoid future energy security consequences. This study assesses the environmental life cycle assessment (ELCA) of transport fuel options suitable for WA. The study revealed that ethanol (E65), electric (EV) and plug-in electric vehicle (PHEV) options can decrease global warming potential (GWP) by 40%, 29% and 14%, respectively, when compared to gasoline. The EV and PHEV also performed better than gasoline in the fossil fuel depletion (FFD) and water consumption (WC) impact categories. Gasoline, however, demonstrated better environmental performance in all the impact categories compared to hydrogen and that was mainly due to the high electricity requirement during the production of hydrogen. The use of platinum in hydrogen fuel cells and carbon fibre in the hydrogen tank for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV) and Li-ion battery for EVs are the most important sources of environmental impacts. The findings of the study would aid the energy planners and decision makers in carrying out a comparative environmental assessment of the locally-sourced alternative fuels for WA.
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