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The Outlook for Power Plant CO2 Capture

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journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2009 by Edward Rubin
There is growing international interest in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions linked to global climate change. CCS is especially attractive for electric power plants burning coal and other fossil fuels, which are a major source of global CO2 emissions. This paper describes the performance and cost of CO2 capture technologies for large-scale electric power plants including pulverized coal (PC), natural gas combined cycle (NGCC), and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. Different types of capture technologies, including pre-combustion, post-combustion, and oxyfuel combustion capture systems are discussed, along with the outlook for new or improved technology. Future cost for power plants with CO2 capture are estimated using both a “bottom-up” approach based on engineering analysis and a “top-down” approach based on historical experience curves. The limitations of such projections are discussed along with needs for future research, development and demonstration of CCS technology. The most urgent need at this time is financing for several full-scale demonstrations of CCS at coal-based power plants.