Life Cycle Assessment of Power-to-X in the Swiss residential sector

Replacing natural gas and oil currently used for heating in the Swiss residential sector by heat pumps – the option with the highest energy efficiency – is not always easily possible without large investments. So-called “Power-to-X” fuels represent an alternative, which can be used with the existing infrastructure, as these fuels are perfect substitutes for fossil oil and natural gas. Furthermore, new technologies such as hydrogen or methanol fuel cells could be considered.

The purpose of this project is the evaluation of the life-cycle environmental performance of different alternatives for heat and electricity supply in the Swiss residential sector. The technology scope includes direct electrification via heat pumps and indirect electrification via hydrogen and methanol fuel cells and boilers as well as synthetic natural gas boilers. Different options for hydrogen supply and SNG production will be assessed for their impacts on climate change, primary energy demand and overall environmental impacts. Both small- and large-scale applications will be included, i.e. the use of Power-to-X fuels in single households and their combustion in combination with district heating networks.

Figure 1: Schematic overview of PtX options in the residential sector and their alternatives.