A hybrid-unit energy input-output model to evaluate embodied energy and life cycle emissions for China’s Economy

Sören Lindner, Dabo Guan

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We develop a hybrid-unit energy input-output (I/O) model with a disaggregated electricity sector for China. The model replaces primary energy rows in monetary value, namely, coal, gas, crude oil, and renewable energy, with physical flow units in order to overcome errors associated with the proportionality assumption in environmental I/O analysis models. Model development and data use are explained and compared with other approaches in the field of environmental life cycle assessment. The model is applied to evaluate the primary energy embodied in economic output to meet Chinese final consumption for the year 2007. Direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions intensities are determined. We find that different final demand categories pose distinctive requirements on the primary energy mix. Also, a considerable amount of energy is embodied in the supply chain of secondary industries. Embodied energy and emissions are crucial to consider for policy development in China based on consumption, rather than production. Consumption-based policies will likely play a more important role in China when per capita income levels have reached those of western countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • CO2 emissions
  • coal
  • energy balance
  • hybrid life cycle assessment
  • industrial ecology
  • input-output life cycle assessment (I/O-LCA)

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