Economics

Proving a sound economic foundation for carbon capture and storage is essential to its widespread deployment, especially in developing economies where coal-fired power generation presents enormous economic benefits albeit with a large initial capital investment and poor emissions outcomes.

The goal of the ongoing economic assessment of carbon capture and storage technologies is to determine the appropriate mix of tools to substantially reduce the cost of its application. We do this by testing and refining the economics behind carbon capture and storage deployment.

Our teams have investigated various biomass powered units to provide energy for CO2 capture, evaluated the trade-offs between performance and economics and examined their viability under different fuel prices and incentive schemes.

In the study we examined four options and found a biomass fired combined heat and power unit to be the most cost effective option as the increase in the cost of electricity is lower than if energy to drive the capture plant was taken from the power plant itself.

We have further shown in identifying cost efficient capture technologies that particular solvents based systems can reduce the capture cost by 40 per cent compared with the current commercial systems. Our studies help address one of the key challenges for integrating CO2 capture units with existing power plants – sourcing efficient and clean energy for CO2 capture and compression.

Our teams have investigated the effect of flow-rate, transport distance, injectivity, storage capacity and well costs on the choice between two storage sites. They analysed the outcomes of approximately 5000 cases and developed a decision tree to enable rapid screening of pairs of sites. This approach is approximately 500 times faster than conventional optimisation methods and enables the pair-wise comparison of any number of sinks.

In isolation, these projects provide valuable insights into the competitiveness of carbon capture and storage and help direct the work of our scientific researchers but CO2CRC doesn’t work in isolation. As a leading research and development body our work will drive the program activities at carbon capture and storage sites around the world