Energy Pollution

Energy pollution relates closely to the amount and source of energy used in the production of materials. Transport both of raw materials and finished products is also a decisive factor.

Sources of energy vary a great deal from country to country. In Scandinavia, hydropower is quite common, whereas in Great Britain and Europe the main sources are still fossil fuels and nuclear power. Renewables are increasing only very slowly.

The use of nuclear power implies risks of radioactive emissions, especially in the management of waste. Fossil fuels cause the greatest emissions of climate gases including carbon dioxide (CO2), acids such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and substances forming photochemical oxidation, such as nitrogen oxides (NOX). Combustion of waste can also cause serious pollution depending on its composition. Bioenergy in its various forms is not unproblematic either. Apart from competition with food supplies, it is normally to be regarded as climate neutral, assuming replantation. The renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar are generally unproblematic but none of them are without some environmental consequences.

Table 2.1 Energy-related pollution in production processes based on direct use of fossil fuels and mixed domestic waste

(Source: Naturvardsverket, Stockholm 2007)

Table 2.1 Energy-related pollution in production processes based on direct use of fossil fuels and mixed domestic waste

(Source: Naturvardsverket, Stockholm 2007)

Sources

CO2 [g/MJ]

SO2 [g/MJ]

NOx [g/MJ]

Oil

75

0,18

0,1

Natural gas

55

0

0,04

Coal

91

0,20

0,15

Coke

103

0,36

0,15

Mixed domestic waste

25

0,05

0,09

The figures do not Include emissions from extraction and transportation of the fuels, where about 15% should be added. Electricity Is usually produced from a combination of sources also including nuclear power, biomass, hydropower etc and the rate of utilization is a lot lower than by direct combustion. The climate impact for electricity produced in the OECD countries is estimated to be 110 g CO2 per MJ (IEA/OECD, 2007). (Source: Naturvardsverket, Stockholm 2007)

The figures do not Include emissions from extraction and transportation of the fuels, where about 15% should be added. Electricity Is usually produced from a combination of sources also including nuclear power, biomass, hydropower etc and the rate of utilization is a lot lower than by direct combustion. The climate impact for electricity produced in the OECD countries is estimated to be 110 g CO2 per MJ (IEA/OECD, 2007). (Source: Naturvardsverket, Stockholm 2007)

Table 2.2 Pollution from transport

(Source: NTM Network for Transport and Environment, Sweden 2008)

Table 2.2 Pollution from transport

(Source: NTM Network for Transport and Environment, Sweden 2008)

Type of transport

CO2 (g/ton km)

SO2 (g/ton km)

NOx(g/ton km)

By air

1650

0.9

7.7

By road

- Light truck (14 tonnes), diesel

175

0.04

1.8

- Heavy truck (40 tonnes), diesel

50

0.03

0.55

By rail, diesel

18

0.005

0.36

By sea

- Small ship (less than 3000 tonnes), diesel

25

0.4

0.7

- Large ship (larger than 8000 tonnes), diesel

15

0.26

0.43

(Source: NTM Network for Transport and Environment, Sweden 2008)

(Source: NTM Network for Transport and Environment, Sweden 2008)

ELECTRICITY AND CLIMATE

Electricity comprises a varying fraction in the energy system of different countries. Clean and convenient at the point of use, it nevertheless usually has huge impacts farther upstream.The source of building materials used may thus be of great importance. Aluminium produced with clean hydropower in Norway has a very small impact compared to aluminium produced with coal-based electricity in England. However, with electricity markets becoming increasingly global, our focus should be onthe global energy mix for the production of electricity.This is difficult to ascertain but can be roughly estimated as being produced from thefollowing sources: 66 % fossil fuels, 16 % atomic power and 18% renewables (Achear, 2006). More detailed information is available for the OECD countries and is used as a basis for the tables of this book. But it is important to remember that the same materials imported from quickly developing countries such as China may have far higher climate impacts related to electricity production.

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