To mitigate the negative impacts of increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere on climate change complementary decision tools should be considered when selecting or evaluating the performance of certain (sub-surface) energy production and/or storage systems. Here we explain the framework in which the subsurface energy system could be analyzed using the exergy concept based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The analysis considers the energy requirement of different stages in the life cycle of the considered system, which can later be used to quantify its CO2 emission. The exergy analysis provides valuable information on comparing different energy routes in terms of their end-to-end efficiency and/or their CO2 intensity (gr-CO2/MJ). We show application of the methodology for different hydrocarbon production systems, underground hydrogen storage, and CO2 capture and storage. We assert that during energy transition time the focus should be on minimizing CO2 intensity of the selected systems, regardless of its origin.
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