Focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS) has grown over the past decade
with recognition of CCS's potential to make deep CO2-emission
reductions and that fossil fuels will continue to be needed to supply much of
the world's energy demands for decades to come. How CCS will compare with other
options in the future depends critically on the cost of CCS (the focus of this
paper) and resolution of barriers to CCS deployment and costs and barriers for
other emission-reduction options.
This paper provides a comparison of the cost of electricity of five
power-generation options--coal-and-gas-combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) with
and without CCS and nuclear--and shows regions of carbon price and fuel prices
where each can be economically viable.
Current cost estimates for coal CCS for nth-of-a-kind
power-generation plant are in the USD 60 to 100/t of CO2 avoided,
which is higher than some of the earlier CCS estimates, and higher than the
generally accepted range of expected carbon prices in the next 2 decades. The
high cost of coal CCS suggests that
- Gas-based power generation is significantly more economical than coal CCS
at carbon prices less than USD 60 to 100/t CO2.
- Even after carbon prices reach USD 60 to 100/t CO2, gas CCS
produces lower-cost electricity than coal CCS, as long as natural-gas prices
remain less than USD 9/1,000 Btu.
- Nuclear has a lower cost of electricity than coal CCS.
Although coal or gas CCS is unlikely to be economical in power generation
over the next 2 decades, subsidized demonstrations of CCS are likely to occur.
In addition, components of CCS technologies will continue to be economically
practiced in early-use segments [e.g., natural-gas processing and
enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) operations]. In the natural-gas-processing
industry, CO2 separation cost is a fraction of the cost of
CO2 capture in power generation because of its higher gas pressure,
and the CO2 separation is typically necessary to monetize the
In contrast, CCS for most refinery and industrial emissions is expected to
be significantly more costly than in power generation because the
CO2 streams are typically smaller scale and more distributed than
those from large power plants.
Realistic cost estimates for CCS and for other greenhouse-gas (GHG)
mitigation options are an important input for focusing research, development,
and demonstration addressing barriers to applications that show the greatest
promise and for development of sound policy.
© 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- Original manuscript received:
12 September 2010
- Meeting paper published:
10 November 2010
- Revised manuscript received:
12 September 2011
- Manuscript approved:
7 December 2011
- Version of record:
8 February 2012