Life cycle inventory of power producing technologies and power grids at regional grid level in India

  • Muhammed Noor HossainEmail author
  • Johan Tivander
  • Karin Treyer
  • Tereza Lévová
  • Lucia Valsasina
  • Anne-Marie Tillman



Indian electricity production mix, technology level, and local production conditions vary across the states and union territories. This variability is obscured in existing national-level life cycle inventories of Indian power producing technologies and power systems, which potentially leads to inaccurate results from LCA studies that include Indian activities. This study aims to create a consistent regionalized inventory model of Indian power system parameters and to evaluate how that influences life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) calculations.


Data collection covers state-specific key parameters of domestic power production and distribution, and inter-exchanges among the regional grids and with other countries in 2012–2013. However, such regionalization work faces some data availability challenges. Power plant parameter data (e.g., efficiency, fuel quality, exact technology used) are mostly unavailable on plant level for India; if at all, relevant data are available on a state level. Moreover, local emission data are also mostly unavailable except emissions of CO2. Quantities of other important emissions (NOx, SOx, CH4, CO, PM) are, therefore, calculated based on emission factors from literature.

Results and discussion

Variation in electricity production volumes among the states and regional grids are found notably high. Six states contribute 55% of the national power supply, whereas ten states contribute only 2.1% to the total. Moreover, the five regional electricity grids—Eastern, Western, Southern, Northern, and North-eastern grids—show high variation in production mixes. These differences have a considerable impact on LCIA results. For instance, the contribution to the global warming potential per 1 kWh of electricity supplied to the grid is nearly twice as high in the Eastern grid as in the North-eastern grid. Furthermore, transformation and transmission losses are found to be high in the Indian electricity grids with an average of 17% technical losses along the transmission chain from high voltage to the low voltage.


Hence, we conclude that the inventory data produced in this study on Indian electricity production and distribution at grid level, taking local variations in technology mix and key parameters into account, enables higher accuracy in life cycle assessment studies compared to using average national-level data.


Indian electricity Life cycle inventories Power generation technology Power systems Regionalization Variability 

Supplementary material

11367_2018_1536_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammed Noor Hossain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johan Tivander
    • 1
  • Karin Treyer
    • 2
  • Tereza Lévová
    • 3
  • Lucia Valsasina
    • 3
  • Anne-Marie Tillman
    • 1
  1. 1.Chalmers University of TechnologyGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Paul Scherrer InstitutVilligenSwitzerland
  3. 3.Ecoinvent CentreZürichSwitzerland

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