Applied Energy, Vol.242, 1738-1752, 2019
Life cycle (well-to-wheel) energy and environmental assessment of natural gas as transportation fuel in Pakistan
Consumers and organizations worldwide are searching for low-carbon alternatives to conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their impact on the environment. Natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel has made significant inroads in the light and heavy duty vehicles market over the last fifteen years. In a sustainable development view, both vehicle emissions and energy supply chain analysis from well-to-wheel must be addressed. The aim of this research is to provide a Well-to-Wheel (WtW) assessment of energy consumptions and GHG emissions for 25 combinations of automotive fuel and matching powertrain systems, with a special focus on the natural gas pathways. Although several well-to-wheel studies available in literature are comprehensive in relation to developed countries' conditions, it is problematic to apply the results to developing countries fuel markets, since the local fuel conditions and respective vehicle powertrain technologies are considerably different. This study deal with a comparative well-to-wheel analysis of natural gas, diesel and gasoline fuels looking at the Pakistanis situation but the models and approaches for this study can be applied to other countries having similar characteristics, as long as all the assumptions are well defined and modified to find a substitute automotive energy source and establish an energy policy in a specific region. The well-to-tank step was made using the GREET model, developed by the U.S. Argonne National Laboratory while tank-to-wheel analysis was performed using AVL Cruise, a commercially-available backward vehicle simulator. Later both stages were integrated in a well-to-wheel stage where relevant indexes were proposed and discussed. The results indicate that natural gas vehicles are 5-17% and 23-36% less fuel efficient, depending on the engine technology employed as compared to gasoline and diesel powertrain, respectively. Natural gas appears as an environmental efficient pathway regarding GHG emissions, especially compared to gasoline. In addition, using 20-year GWPs instead of 100-year GWPs increases WtW GHG emissions by 19-26% for natural gas pathways.