Copper wire; technology mix; market mix, at plant; cross section 1 mm
The data set is part of a LCA study on copper products. The study is based on recent industry data supplied by the European copper industry, and thus reflecting the reality in copper semis fabrication. Copper wiring is the standard in residential building wire and its use in transformers and motor driven systems helps to increase energy efficiency. In electrical applications, while the use phase is the most important in the overall Life Cycle Assessment, the economic value of copper scrap, based on its ability to be recycled 100% without any loss in performance, must also be included in comparative assessments. Given the broad range of wire diameters in use in the market, the data provided is for one metre of uninsulated copper wire, with a cross section of one square millimetre. The data values should be adjusted to fit the exact wire size for any given application. For example, a typical residential building wire has a cross section of 2.5 square millimetres.
Copper wire is basically made of copper cathode (virgin copper). It encompasses a few amounts of process internal scrap e.g. turnings, cuttings. The process route for copper cathode can be region specific e.g. Outokumpu process, Mitsubishi process, El Teniente process, etc. The production process in principle is based on similar technology worldwide. The database encompasses for both routes the state of the art as described in the EU document on Best Available Technology of IPPC. The process route encompasses the following steps: mining and processing (concentrate production), hydrometallurgy (leaching, solvent extraction, electro winning) and pyrometallurgy (smelting, converting, fire refining, electrolytic refining). Copper cathodes are produced from both, the hydro- and the pyrometallurgical route. The semi-fabrication process for copper sheet includes the process steps melting and alloying, casting and rolling. Raw materials for the production are copper ore and scrap (pyrometallurgy), as well as clean scrap (semi-fabrication). The background system is addressed as follows: Electricity, Thermal energy: The electricity (and thermal energy as by-product) used is modelled according to the individual country-specific situation. The country-specific modelling is achieved on multiple levels. Firstly the individual power plants in service are modelled according to the current national grid. This includes net losses and imported electricity. Second, the national emission and efficiency standards of the power plants are modelled. Third, the country-specific fuel supply (share of resources used, by import and / or domestic supply) including the country-specific properties (e.g. element and energy contents) are accounted for. Fourth, the import, transport, mining and exploration processes for the energy carrier supply chain are modelled according to the specific situation of each power-producing country. The different mining and exploration techniques (emissions and efficiencies) in the different exploration countries are accounted for according to current engineering knowledge and information. Steam: The steam supply is modelled according to the individual country-specific situation with regard to the technology efficiencies and energy carriers used. Efficiencies range from 84% to 94% in relation to the representative energy carrier (gas, oil, coal). Coal, crude oil and natural gas used for the generation of steam are modelled according to the specific import situation (see electricity). Transports: All relevant and known transport processes used are included. Overseas transport including rail and truck transport to and from major ports for imported bulk resources are included. Furthermore all relevant and known pipeline and / or tanker transport of gases and oil imports are included. Energy carriers: Coal, crude oil, natural gas and uranium are modelled according to the specific import situation (see electricity). Refinery products: Diesel, gasoline, technical gases, fuel oils, basic oils and residues such as bitumen are modelled via a country-specific, refinery parameterized model. The refinery model represents the current national standard in refinery techniques (e.g. emission level, internal energy consumption,...) as well as the individual country-specific product output spectrum, which can be quite different from country to country. Hence the refinery products used show the individual country-specific use of resources. The supply of crude oil is modelled, again, according to the country-specific crude oil situation with the respective properties of the resources.