New Study Examines Cost Of Carbon Capture From Industrial Processes

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The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) – the US Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation for environmental sustainability, released a new study called “Cost of Capturing CO2 From Industrial Sources.”

The study is an update of the original 2014 release that examines the costs of retrofitting carbon capture systems on a variety of industrial processes. 

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Nine industrial sources of CO2 emissions were considered and evaluated in the study – ammonia, ethylene oxide, and ethanol production, natural gas process, coal- and gas-to-liquids, refinery hydrogen production, iron and steel, and cement manufacturing. 

The industrial sectors were chosen based on the CO2 purity level of the flue gas stream, prior to treatment. 

Certain sectors naturally produce a gas stream that is inherently high in CO2 purity, and these sectors can achieve 99-100% removal. Other sectors produce a lower purity CO2 flue gas stream and achieve 90-99% removal which requires deeper levels of treatment, adding to the costs. 

Those industries that produce low purity streams of CO2 – less than 90 volume % are hydrogen (refinery), steel, and cement, for example. That affects directly the carbon capture price as the higher the CO2 concentration in the stream, the lower the cost. 

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Another parameter that influences the carbon capture cost is the scale of the effluent stream. The larger the effluent stream (economies of scale) – the lower the respective cost.

In addition, the report includes NETL’s Carbon Capture Retrofit Database tool that was created to enable users to apply CO2 capture to selected industries in order to evaluate the costs of capture and compare them across multiple plants and across different industries. 

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The tool allows to change select input parameters like fuel price, capture rate, and financing assumptions to evaluate the impact on industrial CO2 capture economics.

“Studies like this play a crucial role in our efforts to help the country transition to a decarbonized economy, which includes addressing CO2 emissions from industry in addition to power generation and transportation… The study and the CCRD tool will be used by industry to identify and better understand project opportunities in the context of the various incentives that exist – such as the 45Q carbon oxide sequestration credits – as they pursue decarbonization,” said Eric Grol, NETL chemical engineer. 

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