Analysis of Carbon Saving by the Adoption of Electric Vehicles in a Region Where Electricity Generation is Dominated by Thermal Power Plants

  • Parakram Pyakurel Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal
  • Filipe Quintal Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal
  • James Auger Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal
  • Julian Hanna Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal
Keywords: CO2 emission, electric vehicles, renewable energy penetration, battery charging

Abstract

One method of reducing atmospheric CO2 emissions in the transportation sector is the replacement of conventional fossil fuel-based vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs). However, fossil fuels are still the primary source of electricity production in many regions and the utilization of EVs in such regions increases the electricity demand because of battery charging. This results in increased burning of fossil fuels by thermal power plants and therefore can offset savings in CO2 emissions resulting from the adoption of EVs. In this paper, we consider a scenario where all fossil fuel-based conventional vehicles are replaced by EVs and then estimate the net CO2 emission savings resulting from the adoption of EVs in a region where electricity is primarily supplied by thermal plants. Only emissions generated during the operational phase of vehicle use are considered; emissions during the production phase are not considered. The region under consideration is Madeira, Portugal where thermal plants account for 80% of the total electricity produced. Our findings suggest that although EVs have huge potential to save CO2 emissions, a substantial amount of the savings can be offset due to the increased burning of fossil fuels by thermal plants to meet the electrical demand of charging batteries.

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Author Biographies

Parakram Pyakurel, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal

Parakram Pyakurel is currently a researcher at Solent University, UK. His research is on a broad topic of sustainable infrastructure design. His recent works explore complex interactions among energy, environment and society in order to plan for energy justice and sustainability. He has extensively published his research in peer reviewed journals, conferences and digital media.

Filipe Quintal, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal

Filipe Quintal is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Exact Sciences and Engineering at University of Madeira. He is also a researcher and a post-doc at the Interactive Technologies Institute. Most of his research are focused on energy and sustainability, especially how IT can help the overall global sustainability effort.

James Auger, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal

James Auger is an “enseignant chercheur” (teacher and a researcher) at ENS Paris Saclay. His work explores ways through which practice-based design research can lead to more considered and democratic technological futures. James was part of the critically acclaimed Design Interactions department at the Royal College of Arts in London.

Julian Hanna, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal

Julian Hanna is an Assistant Professor and a researcher. His work focuses on critical intersections between culture, politics and technology. After completing his PhD at the University of Glasgow, he has taught at several institutions including the University of British Columbia and the University of Lisbon.

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Published
2021-04-08
Section
Articles