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Specific Carbon Dioxide Emissions of Various Fuels

Fuel is not equal to fuel - at least if we consider carbon dioxide emissions. Burning of lignite emits 80 % more carbon dioxide emission with respect to the energy content than burning of natural gas. Even natural fuels such as wood or peat have high specific emissions, if they are not used sustainable. Hence, deforestation has a high impact on climate change. On the other hand, if we only use as much wood as can grow again, it is carbon dioxide neutral because it binds as much carbon dioxide during growing as is emitted during burning.
If fuels are used for electricity generation, carbon dioxide emissions increase with the reciprocal of the power plant efficiency. E.g. if a power station with an efficiency of 34 % burns coal, it emits 1.0 kg carbon dioxide for generating one kilowatt hour of electricity.
Changing to less carbon dioxide intensive fuels reduces the emissions and contributes to climate protection in the short-term. For a long-term climate protection the only alternative are zero-carbon energy resources such as sustainable-used biomass and other renewable types of energy.

Specific carbon dioxide emissions of various fuels
Fuel Emissions
in kgCO2/kWh
in kgCO2/GJ
Wood *) 0.39 109.6
Peat 0.38 106.0
Lignite 0.36 101.2
Hard coal 0.34 94.6
Fuel oil 0.28 77.4
Diesel 0.27 74.1
Crude oil 0.26 73.3
Kerosene 0.26 71.5
Gasoline 0.25 69.3
Refinery gas 0.24 66.7
Liquid petroleum gas 0.23 63.1
Natural gas 0.20 56.1
*) not sustainable used without reforestation
Source: Regenerative Energiesysteme (Renewable Energy Systems)

Specific carbon dioxide emissions of various fuels
Specific carbon dioxide emissions of various fuels

© 02/2003 by Volker Quaschning

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