Toward a common method of cost estimation for CO2 capture and storage at fossil fuel power plants

Organisation: Global CCS Institute, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG), International Energy Agency (IEA), Zero Emissions Platform

There are more than 100 papers in the public domain on the costs of CCS. However, there are significant differences in the methods employed by various organizations to estimate the cost of CCS systems for fossil fuel power plants. Many of these differences were discussed at a series of workshops, commencing in 2011, through which an international group of experts from industrial firms, government agencies, universities, and environmental organizations met to share information and perspectives on CCS costs for electric power plants.

Such differences often are not readily apparent in publicly reported CCS cost estimates. As a consequence, there is a significant degree of misunderstanding, confusion, and misrepresentation of CCS cost information, especially among audiences not familiar with the details of CCS costing.

A key recommendation of the first workshop was that a task force be formed to develop guidelines and recommendations for a costing method and nomenclature that could be broadly adopted to produce more consistent and transparent cost estimates for CCS applied to electric power plants.

Commencing in late 2011, and Chaired by Ed Rubin, task force members George Booras (EPRI), John Davison (IEAGHG), Clas Ekstrom (Vattenfall), Mike Matuszewski (USDOE/NETL), Sean McCoy (IEA) and Chris Short (Global CCS Institute) prepared a White Paper outlining both differences that exist in many current studies as well as providing guidelines and procedures for CCS costing, encompassing the full chain of CCS.

The aim of the work is not to suggest or recommend a uniform set of assumptions or premises for CCS cost estimates. There are good reasons why the cost of a given technology may vary from one situation to another and from one location to another. Rather, the sole objective is to help all parties with an interest or stake in CCS costing do a better job by addressing the major deficiencies in current costing methods, especially differences in the items included in a cost analysis.

The report addresses six major topics relevant to CCS costs

  • defining project scope and design
  • defining nomenclature and cost categories for CCS cost estimates
  • quantifying elements of CCS cost
  • defining financial structure and economic assumptions
  • calculating the costs of electricity and CO2 avoided
  • guidelines for CCS cost reporting