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Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA

Effects of Plant Location on the Costs of CO2 Capture

Luca Mancuso, Noemi Ferrari

Citation: IEAGHG, "Effects of Plant Location on the Costs of CO2 Capture", 2018-04, April 2018.

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Publication Overview

In recent years, IEAGHG has published several studies that address the application of CCS to coal and natural gas-fired power plants. The studies are based on a hypothetical site in the Netherlands. However, while Europe may be one region where large-scale power plants with CCS are built, there is even greater potential for CCS in regions where coal consumption is high and increasing or where emission reduction targets would require CCS to also be considered for gas-fired power stations. While very often, the cost of CO2 capture is cited as a single value or as a range, the performance and costs of plants with CO2 capture will be different at different locations – and there is currently a shortage of information calculated on a consistent basis, particularly for emerging economies.The key factors that influence the costs of capture, how these vary regionally and how the costs of capture varies regionally would be of enormous interest. For many, greater granularity in the regional differences in costs would be of value. For countries, such information could help them develop their national and international energy policy to greater effect, particularly where it relates to CCS. Similarly, industry could better identify markets and better target its spend on technology development and deployment. Incomplete information can lead to flawed analysis and result in poorer decision making. Considering these matters, the IEAGHG ExCo felt a study to investigate how the cost of CO2 capture varied for different locations was warranted. Following a competitive tender, Amec Foster Wheeler (now Wood Group), Milan, were commissioned to undertake the study.

Publication Summary

  • The cost of CO2 capture is often cited as a single value or as a range, regardless of design, ambient conditions or location. For many, greater granularity on the regional differences in costs would be of value. Incomplete information can lead to flawed analysis and result in poorer decision making.
  • Regional differences in costs stem from differences in a variety of local conditions. The main local factors that affect plant performance and costs are:
    • Technical differences between the sites, such as ambient conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity and elevation), fuel composition and water availability;
    • Economic parameters, such as fuel price, construction and operating labour costs and productivity, project contingency, maintenance costs, local costs of materials and equipment, local taxes and costs of CO2 transport and storage.
  • Case studies were undertaken to explore costs and performance data at a range of geographical locations for coal and gas-fired plants, with and without CCS:
    • 19 case studies covering 11 countries were undertaken on coal-fired plant and 17 case studies covering 12 countries on gas-fired plant. Variations in the performance and costs of these plants were quantified according to local and site specific conditions.
  • Depending on location, the net efficiencies of plants differed markedly:
    • The net efficiency of supercritical pulverised coal (SC PC) plants ranged from 41.1% to 44.5% (LHV basis) for the cases without capture and from 31.9% to 35.4% with capture;
    • The net electrical efficiency of natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants ranged between 59.4% and 61.7% (LHV basis) for the cases without capture and between 52.6and to 54.6% for the cases with capture.
  • Efficiency penalties resulting from the addition of post-combustion CO2 capture also varied:
    • For SC PC plants with post-combustion CO2 capture, the related efficiency penalty was 8.7 to 9.9 percentage points compared to the cases without capture. The highest penalties related to locations where high-carbon content coal was used or where ambient conditions led to a high cooling temperature level;
    • For NGCC plants with post-combustion CO2 capture, the efficiency penalty of the capture ranged between 6.5 and 7.3 percentage points. The highest penalties were associated with the lowest condensing temperature.
  • The introduction of the post combustion capture, either on SC PC or NGCC plants, led to an increase in plant cost of 90-110%. There was a large variation in the capital cost for both plant types dependent on plant location. For example, plant costs in Australia and South Africa were almost double those of Chinese plants, whilst the difference for plant design modifications accounted for only 20-25%. [Noting that cost differences for plant design modifications alone were estimated by comparing the capital costs for the plants with costs assuming the plants were constructed in the hypothetical Netherlands (reference) location.]
  • Electricity costs were found to differ markedly:
    • The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of SC PC plants varied between €35/MWh and €58/MWh for plants without capture and between €67/MWh and €106/MWh for plants with capture.
    • The LCOE of NGCC plants varied between €28/MWh and €66/MWh for plants without capture and between €48/MWh and €93/MWh for plants with capture. The large range is mainly related to the high variation in natural gas price between locations.
  • In general, SC PC plants without capture showed better economy than NGCC in locations where local coal was available or natural gas was very expensive, such as Poland, South Africa and the Far East (China, Japan and Indonesia).

It is interesting to note that, while the study focused on CO2 capture in power plants, the results could also be used as a rough guide for evaluating the impact of plant location on cost of CO2 capture in industrial sectors, e.g. in refineries, in the cement, paper and steel industries, and in chemicals production from syngas.

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