The use of primary energy factors and CO2 intensities for electricity in the European context - A systematic methodological review and critical evaluation of the contemporary literature
Kjartan Van den Brande,
Arnold Janssens and
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2021, vol. 146, issue C
Reaching the European Union's 2030 targets for primary energy use (PE) and CO2 emissions (CE) requires an accurate assessment of how different technologies perform on these two fronts. To calculate the PE and CE associated with the consumption of electricity (e.g. by an electric vehicle or a heat pump) conversion factors (CFs) are required, namely a primary energy factor and a CO2 intensity factor. Previous theoretical work has shown that the calculation and use of CFs is a contentious and multifaceted issue, but a review of the actual practice in academic literature has so far been missing. 110 recent studies have been systematically reviewed across six methodological aspects, to find that 75% of the studies consider only a single country, 79% apply a purely retrospective perspective, 66% apply a yearly temporal resolution, 75% apply a purely operational (instead of a life-cycle) perspective, 85% make use of average (rather than marginal) CFs, and 77% ignore electricity imports from surrounding countries. Future research in which CFs are used should more carefully consider each of these methodological aspects and explicitly justify the choices that are being made on this front. There is also a strong need in the literature for a publicly available and methodologically transparent database of up-to-date CFs, which would not only enable more accurate and transparent PE and CE calculations, but also support the further development of building energy performance assessment methods and smart grid algorithms.
Keywords: Conversion factor; Primary energy factor; CO2 intensity; Primary energy; Emissions; Electricity; Heat pump; Electric vehicle; Building energy performance; Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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