Integrating TIMES and life cycle assessment models
Integration of TIMES and life cycle
assessment (LCA) models
Miguel F. Astudillo (U. Sherbrooke)
Kathleen Vaillancourt (Esmia Consultants Inc.)
Pierre-Olivier Pineau (HEC Montreal)
Ben Amor (U. Sherbrooke)
ETSAP workshop 2018
Life cycle assessment in a nutshell
Advantages of integration:
1. Complete and consistent
inventory of emissions.
2. Comprehensive env.
1. Human health
2. Biodiversity loss
3. Water scarcity …
• Inventories materials and energy flows
• Impact assessment methods (e.g. GWP)
= Environmental indicators
Purpose: Quantify the environmental
impact of good or service.
e.g. : 1 pkm of large diesel car
Past attempts and problems:
- NEEDS project
- Menten et al 2015
- Garcia-Gusano et al 2016a
- Garcia-Gusano et al 2016b
- Volkart et al. 2017
- Reflex EU project
- Store&Go EU project
- Reem project
- Incomplete mapping : TIMES models
have many process to match manually.
- Biased models if LCA data affects
the objective function.
- Inconsistent datasets: efficiency,
emission factors …
- Double counting: e.g. energy services
for industry, freight transport etc.
Astudillo et al. 2018
How to simplify: Focus on the
‘relevant’ changes in the RES
Only include Life cycle emissions of the
processes that emit most of the GHGe
Assumption: operating GHG emissions are
correlated with other environmental impacts
(Kalbar et al. 2017)
In LCA jargon : cut-off criterion
NATEM (North American TIMES E.
TIMES model: NATEM-Quebec
GHG from fuel combustion.
2700 + technologies
What is the potential life-cycle
environmental Impact of a
climate change mitigation
policy in Quebec ?
Counterfactual: baseline + GHG constraint
Cut-off : changes in CO2eq emissions
cut-off criterion: only
include the processes that
explain x % of absolute
changes in GHG (according
to a TIMES model)
N º processes affected by GHGe mitigation
policy in Quebec
0% = 603 processes
10% = 59 processes
A few processes are
enough to explain most of
the (needed) changes
cut-off effectiveness in different scenarios
of cut-off in different
cut-off problem : Are CO2eq emissions a good
Non-CO2 intensive ‘relevant’ process
Some processes should be
included regardless their
contribution to GHG.
How: Meta-analysis of LCA
Which: Nuclear, biomass
Ratio of Impact 2002+ endpoint scores to CC
scores for key Swiss processes
TIMES represent future energy
systems, LCI of existing ones.
Potentially different emission
Update LCA databases with
parameters from TIMES
Inconsistent parameters: comparing EF
Fuel combustion emission
factors (CO2,N2O and CH4)
- Canadian inventory of
- Ecoinvent v3.4 (reference
Notable differences in coal
and natural gas. For the rest,
no need to adapt.
Summary of workflow
1) Create baseline and counterfactual scenario in TIMES
2) Identify processes to be included in the LCI:
1) Apply Cut-off: contribution to changes in CO2eq
2) Add non-CO2 “relevant” processes
3) Harmonise parameters
4) Impact assessment
Implementation : reproducible
- Live code
Integration tool build
Results by the end of the year !
Some results: Operation CO2,CH4, N2O vs the
• Astudillo, M.F., Vaillancourt, K., Pineau, P.-O., Amor, B., 2017. Can the household sector reduce global
warming mitigation costs? sensitivity to key parameters in a TIMES techno-economic energy model. Appl.
Energy 205, 486–498. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.07.130
• Astudillo, M.F., Vaillancourt, K., Pineau, P.-O., Amor, B., n.d. Integrating energy system models in life cycle
management, in: Benetto, E., Gericke, K. (Eds.), Designing Sustainable Technologies, Products and Policies.
Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
• García-Gusano, D., Garraín, D., Dufour, J., 2016a. Prospective life cycle assessment of the Spanish electricity
production. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 75, 21–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.10.045
• García-Gusano, D., Iribarren, D., Martín-Gamboa, M., Dufour, J., Espegren, K., Lind, A., 2016b. Integration of
life-cycle indicators into energy optimisation models: The case study of power generation in Norway. J.
Clean. Prod. 112, 2693–2696. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.10.075
• Menten, F.M., Tchung-ming, S., Lorne, D., Bouvart, F., 2015. Lessons from the use of a long-term energy
model for consequential life cycle assessment : the BTL case. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 43, 942–960.
• Volkart, K., Weidmann, N., Bauer, C., Hirschberg, S., 2017. Multi-criteria decision analysis of energy system
transformation pathways: A case study for Switzerland. Energy Policy 106, 155–168.
Thanks for listening !