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Journal of Energy
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 268263, 8 pages
Research Article

Life-Cycle Analyses of Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions of Natural Gas-Based Alternative Vehicle Fuels in China

1Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy (3E), Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2China Automotive Energy Research Center, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Received 26 February 2013; Accepted 24 April 2013

Academic Editor: Qilian Liang

Copyright © 2013 Xunmin Ou and Xiliang Zhang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tsinghua life-cycle analysis model (TLCAM) has been used to examine the primary fossil energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for natural gas- (NG-) based alternative vehicle fuels in China. The results show that (1) compress NG- and liquid NG-powered vehicles have similar well-to-wheels (WTW) fossil energy uses to conventional gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, but differences emerge with the distance of NG transportation. Additionally, thanks to NG having a lower carbon content than petroleum, CNG- and LNG-powered vehicles emit 10–20% and 5–10% less GHGs than gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, respectively; (2) gas-to-liquid- (GTL-) powered vehicles involve approximately 50% more WTW fossil energy uses than conventional gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, primarily because of the low efficiency of GTL production. Nevertheless, since NG has a lower carbon content than petroleum, GTL-powered vehicles emit approximately 30% more GHGs than conventional-fuel vehicles; (3) The carbon emission intensity of the LNG energy chain is highly sensitive to the efficiency of NG liquefaction and the form of energy used in that process.