Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Propane and Competing Energy Technologies

Client: Propane Education & Research Council

Project Overview

Nexight Group conducted a technical analysis for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to quantify the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production and use of propane and other fuels in several applications of importance to the U.S. propane industry.

Need

Energy production and use generates GHG emissions that can contribute to climate change. As a result, many government and business leaders are currently looking for ways to reduce GHG emissions while promoting economic development and consumer choice, and consumers are taking more of an active role in determine their personal energy mix. To provide leaders and consumers with the information they need to make these energy decisions, PERC commissioned a study to quantify the GHG emissions profiles of propane and other energy sources in 14 selected applications including residential buildings, commercial buildings, off-road vehicles, on-road applications, and agricultural applications.

Our Solution

Our analysis used a lifecycle approach to estimate the greenhouse gases emitted by different energy and technology combinations. Using the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) fuel life-cycle model provided by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), we conducted an analysis of the GHG emissions from several different fuels that result from the recovery, processing, and transport of fuel from the point of extraction to the point of delivery to the end user. For each energy and technology combination in this analysis, end-use emissions were determined by calculating the CO2 emissions resulting from fuel combustion at the point of end use. We then compiled these calculations into a 50-page report and designed tables and graphics and used consistent colors for each fuel type throughout to make the information easy to understand and compare. We also developed an Executive Summary brochure to provide a brief overview of the report methodology and results for a wide range of audiences.

Impact

This study uses a credible, unbiased approach to show that propane produces fewer GHG emissions than several other competing energy options in a wide range of applications. Published in June 2014, PERC is using the report to provide information about available energy options to propane marketers, policymakers, and consumers.