Carbon Capture Technology Assessment: In Brief
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is widely seen as a critical strategy for limiting\r atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)-the principal "greenhouse gas" linked to global\r climate change-from power plants and other large industrial sources. This report focuses on the\r first component of a CCS system, the CO2 capture process. Unlike the other two components of\r CCS, transportation and geologic storage, the CO2 capture component of CCS is heavily\r technology-dependent. For CCS to succeed at reducing CO2 emissions from a significant fraction\r of large sources in the United States, CO2 capture technologies would need to be deployed\r widely. Widespread commercial deployment would likely depend, in part, on the cost of the\r technology deployed to capture CO2. This report summarizes prospects for improved, lower-cost\r technologies for each of the three current approaches to CO2 capture: post-combustion capture;\r pre-combustion capture; and oxy-combustion capture. CRS Report R41325, Carbon Capture: A\r Technology Assessment, provides a more detailed analysis of these technologies.\r While all three approaches are capable of high 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 is that at present there are still no full-scale applications of CO2\r capture on a coal-fired or gas-fired power plant; these plants produce over a third of total U.S.\r CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. However, a number of large-scale demonstration\r projects at both coal combustion and gasification-based power plants are planned or underway in\r the United States and elsewhere. Substantial research and development (R&D) activities are also\r underway in the United States and elsewhere to develop and commercialize lower-cost capture\r systems with smaller energy penalties. Current R&D activities include development and testing\r of new or improved solvents that can lower the cost of current post-combustion and precombustion\r capture, as well as research on a variety of potential "breakthrough technologies"\r such as novel solvents, sorbents, membranes, and oxyfuel systems that hold promise for even\r lower-cost capture systems.
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