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Developing an Electricity Specific Multi-Regional Input-Output Model for Energy Policy Evaluation and Life Cycle Assessment

Vendries Algarin, Jorge A. (2017) Developing an Electricity Specific Multi-Regional Input-Output Model for Energy Policy Evaluation and Life Cycle Assessment. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Input-output (IO) models have been used in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to help understand the economy-wide impacts of goods and services, expanding the boundaries of more traditional process-based studies. IO models are particularly suitable for studies focusing on industries that are part of the supply chain of many other processes, as is the case with electricity generation. However, existing IO-LCA tools usually fail to account for the large variation in regional electricity consumption mixes within the economies they describe, providing only average emissions estimates for electricity use. Using average emissions estimates can lead to misleading results when studying a process that differs significantly from the economy-wide mix.
This dissertation addresses this shortcoming by creating a multi-region input-output model (MRIO) focusing on the power generation and supply (PGS) sector that features a mixed-unit PGS sector disaggregated by generation type. The sector disaggregation procedure is combined with region-specific electricity information as well as electricity trading data to yield a technologically and geographically disaggregated model. This method allows for better modeling of both regional supply chains and emissions, yielding for region specific estimates that can be used with process-based methods to build more accurate hybrid LCA studies. While the focus is on the U.S. economy, the methodology can be easily adapted to any region(s) for which the relevant data is available.
The model is used explored in two different cases studies. First, environmental effects of national and regional changes in electricity consumption are analyzed using electricity projections to the year 2030. This scenario examines changes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water consumption (WC) by state and industry given the projected changes. The results show that tradeoffs between GHG and WC emissions per MWh differ for specific states and industries. The second case study looks at the use of electricity by data centers, both at a regional scale and from a practical business perspective, and explores the possible tradeoffs related to switch from regional grid electricity to dedicated renewable sources for operating data centers. The results focus on the effect that geographic distribution of data centers in the U.S. have on their emissions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Vendries Algarin, Jorge A.jav66@pitt.edujav660000-0002-8452-229X
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorKhanna, Vikaskhannav@pitt.edukhannav0000-0002-7211-5195
Committee MemberHawkins,
Committee MemberBilec, Melissambilec@pitt.edumbilec0000-0002-6101-6263
Committee ChairMatthews, H. Scotthsm@cmu.edu0000-0002-4958-5981
Committee MemberVidic, Radisavvidic@pitt.eduvidic0000-0001-7969-6845
Date: 26 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 June 2017
Approval Date: 26 September 2017
Submission Date: 25 July 2017
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 243
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multi-Regional Input-Output Models Mixed-Unit Input-Output Model Disaggregation Electricity Life Cycle Assessment Energy Policy Evaluation
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 19:48
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2019 05:15


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