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Climate impact comparison of electric and gas-powered end-user appliances
  • +7
  • Florian Dietrich,
  • Jia Chen,
  • Ankit Shekhar,
  • Sebastian Lober,
  • Konstantin Krämer,
  • Graham Leggett,
  • Carina van der Veen,
  • Ilona Velzeboer,
  • Hugo Anne Denier van der Gon,
  • Thomas Röckmann
Florian Dietrich
Environmental Sensing and Modeling, Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jia Chen
Technical University of Munich
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Ankit Shekhar
ETH Zurich
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Sebastian Lober
Environmental Sensing and Modeling, Technical University of Munich (TUM)
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Konstantin Krämer
Environmental Sensing and Modeling, Technical University of Munich (TUM)
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Graham Leggett
LI-COR Biosciences
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Carina van der Veen
Utrecht University
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Ilona Velzeboer
Environmental Modelling, Sensing and Analysis (EMSA), TNO
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Hugo Anne Denier van der Gon
TNO
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Thomas Röckmann
Utrecht University
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Abstract

Natural gas is considered a bridging technology in the energy transition because it produces fewer carbon emissions than coal, for example. However, when leaks exist, methane is released into the atmosphere, leading to a dramatic increase in the carbon footprint of natural gas, as methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Therefore, we conducted a detailed study of methane emissions from gas-powered end-use appliances and then compared their climate impacts with those of electricity-powered appliances. We used the Munich Oktoberfest as a case study and then extended the study to 25 major natural gas consuming countries. This showed that electricity has been the more climate-friendly energy source at Oktoberfest since 2005, due to the extensive use of renewable electricity at the festival and the presence of methane emissions, particularly caused by incomplete combustion of natural gas appliances. Further, our global study shows that using electric appliances for cooking and heating would be more climate-friendly not only at Oktoberfest but also in several countries around the world, depending on the energy mix used and the leakage rate of natural gas. With this study, we demonstrate one way in which countries with a high renewable share in power generation, in particular, can reduce a significant amount of carbon emissions in the future.