Saturday, February 9, 2019

Carbon Capture and Storage: what’s it role in combatting climate change?

Karl Henrik Robert, founder of The Natural Step, warned us that the longer we waited, the farther we went down “the funnel”, the more expensive it would be to achieve sustainability. Had we started the transition to renewable energy 20-30 years ago, we wouldn’t be faced with the need for an all out effort by 2030.

We no longer have time to choose technologies to reduce emissions. Research has shown that we need to deploy all solutions, including for example demand-side measures, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, electrification of heat and fuel switching. Exactly how many emissions reductions will be delivered by CCS [carbon capture and storage] depends on a variety of factors, including local and regional circumstances and electricity prices.
 According to this article, CCS will be particularly important in certain industrial sectors like cement, steel, etc.

Costs vary largely among these applications in the industrial sector (PDF). Generally, costs of adding carbon capture equipment to an existing facility are lower for plants where the CO2 is already separated as part of the production process. This means that such facilities produce a pure stream of CO2, such as natural gas processing and fertilizer and bioethanol production processes. For them, the cost of adding CCS ranges around $20 to $25 per ton of carbon captured. Higher costs are associated with processes that result in a more diluted Co2 waste stream such as in iron, steel and cement production which can range anywhere up to 125$/t.
Fortunately the US still has a tax credit for CSS.

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