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Opportunities and uncertainties in the early stages of development of CO2 capture and storage

by Lind, Mårten, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The topic of this thesis is carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS), which is a technology that is currently being promoted by industries, scientists and governments, among others, in order to mitigate climate change despite a continued use of fossil fuels. Because of the complex nature of CCS and the risks it entails, it is controversial. The aim of this thesis is to analyse how the technology may be further developed in a responsible manner. In the first part of the thesis different methods for capturing CO2 from industrial processes as well as power plants are analysed. The aim is to identify early opportunities for CO2 capture, which is considered important because of the urgency of the climate change problem. Three potential early opportunities are studied: i) capturing CO2 from calcining processes such as cement industries by using the oxyfuel process, ii) capturing CO2 from pressurised flue gas, and iii) capturing CO2 from hybrid combined cycles. Each opportunity has properties that may make them competitive in comparison to the more common alternatives if CCS is realised. However, there are also drawbacks. For example, while capturing CO2 from pressurised flue gas enables the use of more compact capture plant designs as well as less expensive and less toxic absorbents, the concept is neither suitable for retrofitting nor has it been promoted by the large and influential corporations. The second part of the thesis has a broader scope than the first and is multidisciplinary in its nature with inspiration from the research field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). The approach is to critically analyse stakeholder percep-tions regarding CCS, with a specific focus on the CCS experts. The thesis sheds new light on the complexity and scientific uncertainty of CCS as well as on the optimism among many of its proponents. Because of the uncertain development when it comes to climate change, fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, the conclusion is that CCS has to be further developed and demonstrated. A responsible strategy for a future development of CCS would benefit from: i) a search for win-win strategies, ii) increasing use of appropriate analytical tools such as life-cycle analysis, iii) a consideration of fossil fuel scarcity and increasing price volatility, iv) funding of unbiased research and v) increasing simultaneous investments in long-term solutions such as renewable energy alternatives and efficiency improvements.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:Acceptance; cement; CCS; CO2 capture and storage; early opportunities; enhanced oil recovery; expert opinions; hybrid power cycles; optimism; oxyfuel combustion; pressurised fluidised bed combustion; pilot plant; potassium carbonate; risk; Sargas; scenario studies; scientific uncertainty; stakeholder perceptions

ISBN:978-91-7415-413-9

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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