Monday, December 11, 2017

Lifecycle emissions

Nature Energy just published a new study on the life-cycle emissions of different low-carbon energy sources which shows that nuclear, wind and solar all have significantly lower life-cycle emissions per produced kWh compared to fossil fuels with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). In the study, nuclear is calculated to produce 4 grammes of CO2 equivalent per kWh (gCO2e/kWh), solar 6 gCO2e/kWh and coal with CCS a whopping 109 gCO2e/kWh. Yet, since some of the authors are based at the climate institute in Potsdam, I was not surprised to learn that they have calculated the numbers for nuclear based on the use of gaseous diffusion plants although this is an incredibly energy-intensive process that has long been obsolete. Thus, taking more modern enrichment methods into account, the numbers for nuclear would probably look even better compared to renewable energy sources.

In any case, I should be happy that they at least recognize that nuclear is a low-carbon energy source. Though I may be wrong, it seems like more people are beginning to reconsider nuclear in light of how serious climate change has already become. 

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