Carbon Capture: A Technology Assessment
Carbon capture and sequestration (or carbon capture and storage, CCS) is widely seen as a critical\r strategy for limiting atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)-the principal "greenhouse\r gas" linked to global climate change-from power plants and other large industrial sources. This\r report focuses on the first component of a CCS system, the CO2 capture process. Unlike the other\r two components of CCS, transportation and geologic storage, the CO2 capture component of CCS\r is heavily technology-dependent. For CCS to succeed at reducing CO2 emissions from a\r significant fraction of large sources in the United States, CO2 capture technologies would need to\r be deployed widely. Widespread commercial deployment would likely depend, in part, on the cost\r of the technology deployed to capture CO2. This report assesses prospects for improved, lowercost\r technologies for each of the three current approaches to CO2 capture: post-combustion\r capture; pre-combustion capture; and oxy-combustion capture.\r While all three approaches are capable of high CO2 capture efficiencies (typically about 90%), the\r major drawbacks of current processes are their high cost and the large energy requirements for\r operation. Another drawback in terms of their availability for greenhouse gas mitigation is that at\r present, there are still no full-scale applications of CO2 capture on a coal-fired or gas-fired power\r plant (i.e., a scale of several hundred megawatts of plant capacity). To address the current lack of\r demonstrated capabilities for full-scale CO2 capture at power plants, a number of large-scale\r demonstration projects at both coal combustion and gasification-based power plants are planned\r or underway in the United States and elsewhere. Substantial research and development (R&D)\r activities are also underway in the United States and elsewhere to develop and commercialize\r lower-cost capture systems with smaller energy penalties. Current R&D activities include\r development and testing of new or improved solvents that can lower the cost of current postcombustion\r and pre-combustion capture, as well as research on a variety of potential\r "breakthrough technologies" such as novel solvents, sorbents, membranes, and oxyfuel systems\r that hold promise for even lower-cost capture systems.
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