Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Coal and Imported Gas-Based Power Generation in the Indian Context

Dharik S. Mallapragada, Indraneel Naik, Karthik Ganesan, Rangan Banerjee, Ian J. Laurenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few studies have evaluated the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts associated with India's power sector, despite the expectation that it will dominate new thermal generation capacity additions over the coming decades. Here, we utilize India-specific supply chain data to estimate life cycle GHG emissions associated with power generated by combustion of Indian coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported from the United States. Life cycle impacts of domestic coal power vary widely (80% confidence interval (CI): 951-1231 kg CO2eq/MWh) because of heterogeneity in existing power plant characteristics such as efficiency, age, and capacity. Less variability is observed for LNG sourced from northeast United States and used in the existing Indian combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) fleet (80% CI: 523-648 kg CO2eq/MWh). On average, life cycle GHG emissions from LNG imported into India are ∼54% lower than those associated with Indian coal. However, the GHG intensity of the Indian coal-power sector may be reduced by 13% by retiring plants with the lowest efficiencies and replacing them with higher-efficiency supercritical plants. Improvement of the CCGT fleet efficiency from its current level (41%) to that of a new plant with an F-class turbine (50%) could reduce life cycle GHG emissions for LNG-sourced power by 19%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-549
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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