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Open AccessArticle

Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Multi-Sectoral Energy Transformation Pathways: Methodological Approach and Case Study for Germany

1
Department of Energy Systems Analysis, Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, German Aerospace Center (DLR), 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
2
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
3
Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE), Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52428 Jülich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8225; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198225
Received: 14 September 2020 / Revised: 1 October 2020 / Accepted: 2 October 2020 / Published: 6 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analyzing Development Paths of Emerging Energy Technologies)
In order to analyse long-term transformation pathways, energy system models generally focus on economical and technical characteristics. However, these models usually do not consider sustainability aspects such as environmental impacts. In contrast, life cycle assessment enables an extensive estimate of those impacts. Due to these complementary characteristics, the combination of energy system models and life cycle assessment thus allows comprehensive environmental sustainability assessments of technically and economically feasible energy system transformation pathways. We introduce FRITS, a FRamework for the assessment of environmental Impacts of Transformation Scenarios. FRITS links bottom-up energy system models with life cycle impact assessment indicators and quantifies the environmental impacts of transformation strategies of the entire energy system (power, heat, transport) over the transition period. We apply the framework to conduct an environmental assessment of multi-sectoral energy scenarios for Germany. Here, a ‘Target’ scenario reaching 80% reduction of energy-related direct CO2 emissions is compared with a ‘Reference’ scenario describing a less ambitious transformation pathway. The results show that compared to 2015 and the ‘Reference’ scenario, the ‘Target’ scenario performs better for most life cycle impact assessment indicators. However, the impacts of resource consumption and land use increase for the ‘Target’ scenario. These impacts are mainly caused by road passenger transport and biomass conversion. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy system modelling; energy scenario; environmental impact assessment; life cycle assessment energy system modelling; energy scenario; environmental impact assessment; life cycle assessment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Junne, T.; Simon, S.; Buchgeister, J.; Saiger, M.; Baumann, M.; Haase, M.; Wulf, C.; Naegler, T. Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Multi-Sectoral Energy Transformation Pathways: Methodological Approach and Case Study for Germany. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8225. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198225

AMA Style

Junne T, Simon S, Buchgeister J, Saiger M, Baumann M, Haase M, Wulf C, Naegler T. Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Multi-Sectoral Energy Transformation Pathways: Methodological Approach and Case Study for Germany. Sustainability. 2020; 12(19):8225. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198225

Chicago/Turabian Style

Junne, Tobias; Simon, Sonja; Buchgeister, Jens; Saiger, Maximilian; Baumann, Manuel; Haase, Martina; Wulf, Christina; Naegler, Tobias. 2020. "Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Multi-Sectoral Energy Transformation Pathways: Methodological Approach and Case Study for Germany" Sustainability 12, no. 19: 8225. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198225

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