Well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions of battery electric vehicles in countries dependent on the import of fuels through maritime transportation: A South Korean case study

Wonjae Choi, Han Ho Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Well-to-wheel (WTW) analysis of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) has been mainly performed in the U.S., China, and Europe, which are countries that can produce sizable amounts of fuels or import additionally required fuels through land transportation. However, the situation characterizing these countries is far different from that of countries dependent on the import of fuels through maritime transportation, such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, because the dependence on fuel imports through maritime transportation affects not only the energy mix but also the complexity and results of WTW analysis. In addition, determining the WTW greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of driving BEVs in these countries is very important since these countries have large amounts of GHG emissions and strong interests in the widespread adoption of BEVs. Therefore, unlike previous studies, this study evaluates the WTW GHG emissions of BEVs in South Korea as an example of such countries. To perform WTW analysis of BEVs, comprehensive life cycle analyses of five power generation fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum-based fuel, uranium, and bio heavy oil) are conducted. In addition, ten different power generation technologies and two different electric grids (mainland and the Jeju Island) in South Korea are analysed. The fuel economies of BEVs and conventional vehicles are also considered for evaluating the WTW GHG emissions. The result of this study shows that import processes commonly increase the life cycle GHG emissions of power generation fuels. The GHG emissions of natural gas from the upstream process are ∼40% higher than those of the U.S due to the liquefaction and regasification required for importing natural gas. However, although natural gas produces large amounts of GHG emissions from the upstream process, the electricity generated from natural gas still produces the lowest GHG emissions among the fossil fuels like other countries due to the high efficiency of combined cycle systems. The life cycle GHG emissions of electricity of the Korean mainland and Jeju are calculated to be 578 g CO2 eq/kWh and 544 g CO2 eq/kWh, respectively, which are higher than that of the EU and lower than that of the U.S. and China. Driving BEVs in South Korea was found to have advantages of 90–110 g CO2 eq/km and 50–60 g CO2 eq/km on average over driving internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), respectively, not only on the Korean mainland but also on Jeju Island. Because the GHG emissions from the upstream process of major power generation fuels and the life cycle GHG emissions of the electricity from major power generation technologies are determined in this study, these results are expected to be informative for other countries, which may have different detailed generation mixes, in similar situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-147
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Energy
Volume230
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Battery electric vehicle
  • Fuel importing countries
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Primary energy sources
  • Well-to-wheel analysis

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