CCP - FAQs - About CCS: Capture

What is the cost of CCS? How much might it add to the cost of a KWh of electricity? How much might consumer electricity prices go up? Are there other ways of achieving similar reductions and what would they cost?

As a further operational and technical addition to traditional power generation and industrial processes, CCS represents an additional cost in the creation of products such as electricity, steel and cement.

In terms of the costs of CCS, the capture of CO2 represents over 80% of the total costs associated with the CO2 capture, transport and storage cycle.

With state-of-the-art technology, increase in the cost of electricity is in the range of 30-40%, and should be reduced to 10-15% by new technologies under development.

What are the most authoritative sources of the costs of CCS?

Academic organisations cannot have access to the type of detailed cost information that is necessary to assess actual costs of CCS. Actual costs are also affected by specific location factors and by the quickly varying cost of construction materials. An organisation like the CCP can supply a fair comparison among technologies for the applications of interest to the member companies.

Which of the capture types is the most cost effective and practical to apply in industrial settings? Why?

There is not a single capture type or technology that may be the best solution for every industrial setting. Post-combustion has a wider applicability than other approaches, since it is in principle always usable for retrofitting existing units. The associated cost may however be higher than with pre-combustion or oxy-firing.

Which of the capture types are being developed by the CCP?

The CCP has been developing technologies in all fields of application. While CCP1 split the effort equally among the three fields, CCP2 prioritised the development of pre-combustion technologies for application to power generation in Natural Gas Combined Cycles (NGCC). Nonetheless, the development of some high potential post-combustion and oxy-fired technologies also continued.

Which of the gas separation/capture methods and technologies are being developed by the CCP?

The CCP is mainly working on the solvent/sorbent and membrane techniques. Cryogenic purification is mainly studied for final purification of the CO2 captured through other techniques.

What are the most promising CO2 capture technologies developed by the CCP and why?

A technology under development may be defined as promising when economic evaluations show consistent advantage and technical evaluations do not identify any issues for scale-up. Given this, the most promising technologies in the CCP2 portfolio are:

  • Hydrogen Membrane Reforming (HMR). This technology is based on high temperature (> 700°C) ceramic membranes very selectively permeable to hydrogen, and may be applied to power generation from natural gas.
  • Chemical Looping Combustion. This is a peculiar concept of oxy-firing, where oxygen is adsorbed from air at high temperature by an appropriate solid material, and is released in the presence of a fuel. Applicable to gas fired boilers.

Other CCP technologies show promise for future application and this is highlighted in the technical papers of CCP.

Is CO2 capture a safe technology? Has it been done elsewhere? Are there any HSE implications for undertaking CO2 capture on a large scale?

CO2 Capture is a chemical technology. As such, it shares the same HSE concerns of any chemical plant. These concerns are specific for each technology and are addressed in the development and design phases.
While CO2 capture has not yet been deployed on a large scale, technologies that contribute to it have been deployed (e.g. amine washing in gas purification units at well head), for some time at the same scale that will be used (e.g. syngas production units). For these technologies HSE concerns were already addressed and solved.

CO2 is only one of the gases that come out of a power station chimney, and quite a small proportion at that? Do you store everything or do you separate out the CO2? What happens to the other gases and chemicals?

The main component of the gas coming out of the chimney is nitrogen (~ 70% by vol.). Nitrogen is the main component of the air we breathe, and consequently does not cause any damages to the environment. The same can be said of the second and third components (steam and oxygen). Concentration of other minor components that may be pollutants is already regulated by law, and CO2 capture is not adding any additional pollutants. CO2 must be separated from the other gases to avoid compressing and storing huge amount of gases with higher costs.

What does “CCS-ready” mean?

CCS-ready indicates a plant or industrial facility has been fitted with the necessary CO2 processing structure and physical space to easily add a post-combustion CCS facility at some point in the future. Making new builds CCS-ready is one of the most important steps to ensuring that the widest range of CO2-emitting sources can be quickly adapted to CCS.

Many power stations and other industrial plants are already built and many are quite new, these could last for another 40 to 60 years before being replaced. Can CCS be fitted to these?

Post-combustion technology is the most promising of the three capture mechanisms to address the issue of existing power plants. However, it is also the most expensive and most necessary to quickly employ CCS to a desired effect. CCS can be fitted easily to those plants that have been specifically designed to accommodate a “retrofit” CCS capacity. Older plants present more of a challenge because of the cost aspect in adapting them to post-combustion technology, but nonetheless it is feasible to re-engineer these plants to this specification.

 


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