Document Detail

Spatially-Explicit Life Cycle Assessment of Sun-to-Wheels Transportation Pathways in the U.S.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23268715     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Growth in biofuel production, which is meant to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fossil en-ergy demand, is increasingly seen as a threat to food supply and natural habitats. Using photovoltaics (PV) to directly convert solar radiation into electricity for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is an alterna-tive to photosynthesis, which suffers from a very low energy conversion efficiency. Assessments need to be spatially explicit, since solar insolation and crop yields vary widely between locations. This paper therefore compares direct land use, life cycle GHG emissions and fossil fuel requirements of five differ-ent sun-to-wheels conversion pathways for every county in the contiguous U.S.: Ethanol from corn or switchgrass for internal combustion vehicles (ICVs), electricity from corn or switchgrass for BEVs, and PV electricity for BEVs. Even the most land-use efficient biomass-based pathway (i.e., switchgrass bio-electricity in U.S. counties with hypothetical crop yields of over 24 tonnes/ha) requires 29 times more land than the PV-based alternative in the same locations. PV BEV systems also have the lowest life cy-cle GHG emissions throughout the U.S. and the lowest fossil fuel inputs, except for locations with hypothetical switchgrass yields of 16 or more tonnes/ha. Including indirect land use effects further strengthens the case for PV.
Roland Geyer; David Stoms; James Kallaos
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-12-26
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental science & technology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1520-5851     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Sci. Technol.     Publication Date:  2012 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-12-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0213155     Medline TA:  Environ Sci Technol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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