The Chinese government has promised to cut carbon dioxide emission per unit gross domestic product by 60 to 65 percent by 2030, compared with the 2005 level. Moreover, it’s highly outlined that the comprehensive utilization of coal resources is a crucial way to reach this goal in the latest energy development plans. Accordingly, we conducted a life cycle comparison assessment of a coal-based polygeneration system and separate production systems. The polygeneration system can generate electricity, gasoline, diesel, liquefied natural gas (LNG), sulfur, benzene, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and ammonia sulfate simultaneously. Moreover, some representative separate production systems have been carefully selected for the comparison study. The life cycle results indicate that the current polygeneration system can reduce global warming potential (GWP) by 26.5 percent, acidification potential (AP) by 53.1 percent, eutrophication potential (EP) by 53.7 percent, photochemical ozone creation potential (POCP) by 49.1 percent, and ozone depletion potential (ODP) by 20.4 percent, respectively, compared with representative separate production processes. As a result, this study may also demonstrate the potential advantages to develop coal-based polygeneration systems in China.
Keywords life cycle assessment, polygeneration, separate production, inferior coal utilization