Air quality, health, and climate implications of China’s synthetic natural gas development

Qin Y, Wagner F, Scovronick N, Peng W, Yang J, Zhu T, Smith KR, & Mauzerall DL (2017). Air quality, health, and climate implications of China’s synthetic natural gas development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (19): 4887-4892. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1703167114.

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Abstract

Facing severe air pollution and growing dependence on natural gas imports, the Chinese government plans to increase coal-based synthetic natural gas (SNG) production. Although displacement of coal with SNG benefits air quality, it increases CO2 emissions. Due to variations in air pollutant and CO2 emission factors and energy efficiencies across sectors, coal replacement with SNG results in varying degrees of air quality benefits and climate penalties. We estimate air quality, human health, and climate impacts of SNG substitution strategies in 2020. Using all production of SNG in the residential sector results in an annual decrease of ∼32,000 (20,000 to 41,000) outdoor-air-pollution-associated premature deaths, with ranges determined by the low and high estimates of the health risks. If changes in indoor/household air pollution were also included, the decrease would be far larger. SNG deployment in the residential sector results in nearly 10 and 60 times greater reduction in premature mortality than if it is deployed in the industrial or power sectors, respectively. Due to inefficiencies in current household coal use, utilization of SNG in the residential sector results in only 20 to 30% of the carbon penalty compared with using it in the industrial or power sectors. Even if carbon capture and storage is used in SNG production with today’s technology, SNG emits 22 to 40% more CO2 than the same amount of conventional gas. Among the SNG deployment strategies we evaluate, allocating currently planned SNG to households provides the largest air quality and health benefits with the smallest carbon penalties

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: coal; PM2.5; premature mortality; residential sector; carbon capture and storage
Research Programs: Air Quality & Greenhouse Gases (AIR)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2017 09:15
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 10:55
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14545

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