Swiss university launches tool to calculate CO2 emissions from electricity mix


Swiss university launches tool to calculate CO2 emissions from electricity mix


A platform developed by Swiss university of Geneva that allows consumers to track the variations in the composition of the electricity mix used and to calculate the carbon footprint has come online.

The tool, called horocarbon, can measure electricity consumption for every hour of the day to quantify the environmental impact, thereby creating greater transparency.

The virtual meter, which is fed by Swiss and foreign production data, target citizens as well as scientists and politicians, according to the university.

Horocarbon also serves as an interactive tool to assess the environmental impact of personal consumption and that of certain electrical appliances, such as fridge, computer, and dishwasher.

Switzerland, where electricity is mainly produced by nuclear and hydroelectric power plants, accounts for less than 2% of greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector in Europe.

However, a large part of this electricity is exported to neighbouring countries, especially in summer when electricity becomes surplus.

To meet domestic demand, Switzerland relies on a mix of domestic and imported energy. The latter accounts for around 11% of annual consumption and can be much higher in winter. Apart from electricity from French nuclear power plants, part of the electricity imported and consumed in Switzerland is produced abroad in fossil fuel power plants including gas and coal that emit large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

"The measurement of CO2 emissions from the electricity sector is generally based on the principle of production accounting: these emissions are attributed to the geographical area where they were generated. This approach does not reflect the real carbon impact of a country's consumption, since it does not take into account emissions linked to imports, which are very carbon-intensive in the case of Switzerland," Geneva University's Elliot Romano is quoted in the press release.



Study finds way to generate chemicals from captured carbon dioxide