Publications, Reports & Research
Our publications, reports and research library hosts over 500 specialist reports and research papers on all topics associated with CCS.
Toward a common method of cost estimation for CO2 capture and storage at fossil fuel power plants
30th January 2013
Organisation(s): DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Global CCS Institute, 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
ZEP is an advisor to the European Union on the research demonstration and deployment of CCS. The ZEP’s Taskforce Technology has undertaken a study into the costs of complete CCS value chains – i.e. the capture, transport and storage of CO2 – estimated for new-build coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, located at a generic site in Northern Europe from the early 2020s. Utilising new, in-house data provided by ZEP member organisations, it establishes a reference point for the costs of CCS, based on a 'snapshot' in time (all investment costs are referenced to the second quarter of 2009).
Three Working Groups were tasked with analysing the costs related to CO2 capture, CO2 transport and CO2 storage respectively. The resulting integrated CCS value chains, based on these three individual reports, are presented in this summary report. For a complete picture of how the results were obtained, and all underlying assumptions, please refer to the three individual reports.
The overall report’s key conclusions are as follows:
Post 2020, CCS will be cost-competitive with other low-carbon energy technologies
The EU CCS demonstration programme will not only validate and prove the costs of CCS technologies, but form the basis for future cost reductions, enhanced by the introduction of second- and third-generation technologies. The results of the study therefore indicate that post-demonstration CCS will be cost competitive with other low-carbon energy technologies as a reliable source of low-carbon power. CCS is on track to become one of the key technologies for combating climate change – within a portfolio of technologies, including greater energy efficiency and renewable energy.
CCS is applicable to both coal-and natural gas-fired power plants
CCS can technically be applied to both coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. Their relative economics depend on power plant cost levels, fuel prices and market positioning, whereas applicability is mainly determined by load regime.
All three CO2 capture technologies could be competitive once successfully demonstrated
The study includes the three main capture technologies (post-combustion, pre-combustion and oxy-fuel), but excludes second-generation technologies (e.g. chemical looping, advanced gas turbine cycles). Using agreed assumptions and the Levelised Cost of Electricity as the main quantitative value, there is currently no clear difference between any of the capture technologies and all could be competitive in the future once successfully demonstrated. The main factors influencing total costs are fuel and investment costs.
Early strategic planning of large-scale CO2 transport infrastructure is vital to reduce costs
Clustering plants to a transport network can achieve significant economies of scale – in both CO2 transport and CO2 storage in larger reservoirs, on- and offshore. Large-scale CCS therefore requires the development of a transport infrastructure on a scale matched only by that of the current hydrocarbon infrastructure. As this will lead to greatly reduced long-term costs, early strategic planning is vital – including the development of clusters and over-sized pipelines – with any cross-border restrictions removed.
A risk-reward mechanism is needed to realise the significant aquifer potential for CO2 storage
Location and type of storage site, reservoir capacity and quality are the main determinants for the costs of CO2 storage: onshore is cheaper than offshore; depleted oil and gas fields (DOGF) are cheaper than deep saline aquifers (SA); larger reservoirs are cheaper than smaller ones; high injectivity is cheaper than poor injectivity. Given the large variation in storage costs (up to a factor of 10) and the risk of investing in the exploration of SA that are ultimately found to be unsuitable, a risk-reward mechanism is needed to realise their significant potential and ensure sufficient storage capacity is available – in the time frame needed.
CCS requires a secure environment for long-term investment
Based on current trajectories, the price of Emission Unit Allowances (EUAs) under the EU Emissions Trading System will not, initially, be a sufficient driver for investment after the first generation of CCS demonstration projects is built (2015-2020). Enabling policies are therefore required in the intermediate period – after the technology is commercially proven, but before the EUA price has increased sufficiently to allow full commercial operation. The goal: to make new-build power generation with CCS more attractive to investors than without it.
The companies, scientists, academics and environmental NGOs that together make up the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) have undertaken a ground-breaking study into the costs of CCS based on new data provided exclusively by ZEP member organisations on existing pilot and planned demonstration projects. Costs for different CCS options were determined using data for postcombustion, pre-combustion and oxy-fuel capture technologies, pipeline and shipping transport and storage in on and offshore depleted oil and gas fields and deep saline aquifers. This report summarises the key conclusions of the study.
The companies, scientists, academics and environmental NGOs that together make up the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) have undertaken a ground-breaking study into the costs of CO2 capture based on new data provided exclusively by ZEP member organisations on existing pilot and planned demonstration projects. This report describe costs associated with the capture process and the conditioning and compression/liquefaction of the captured CO2 required for transport. The technologies studied are first-generation capture technologies, namely post-combustion CO2 capture, IGCC with pre-combustion capture and oxy-fuel for hard coal, lignite and natural gas.
The companies, scientists, academics and environmental NGOs that together make up the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) have undertaken a ground-breaking study into the costs of CO2 transport based on new data provided exclusively by ZEP member organisations on existing pilot and planned demonstration projects. This report describes three methods of transportation namely onshore pipeline transport, offshore pipeline transport and ship transport.This report presents detailed cost elements and key cost drivers for each transport method.
The companies, scientists, academics and environmental NGOs that together make up the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP) have undertaken a ground-breaking study into the costs of CO2 storage based on new data provided exclusively by ZEP member organisations on existing pilot and planned demonstration projects. This report describes the bottom-up approach taken using cost components provided by ZEP members. In order to cover the range of potential storage configurations and still provide reliable cost estimates, storage was divided into six main typical cases, according to major differentiating elements. Including depleted oil and gas fields (DOGF) vs. deep saline aquifers (SA), offshore vs. onshore, and whether existing wells were re-usable.