So I was doing some digging and found some old notes I had made while reading about Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) techniques. These are schemes that seek to trap Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and store it somewhere, usually underground, rather than emit it to the atmosphere. CCS is largely sold as a solution to reduce climate change, but it can also provide a source of CO2 for end users like oil fields using enhanced oil recovery.
There are literally dozens of different schemes out there, and I wanted to compare the cost of each when it came to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to do an apples-to-apples comparison of is extremely difficult, but what I did was go through three sources:
- IPCC, 2006. “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage Chapter 3: Capture of CO2” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.
- EcoBusinessLinks, Feb. 14 2010. “Carbon Emissions Offset Directory - Price study of offsetting emissions of carbon.” http://www.ecobusinesslinks.com/carbon_offset_wind_credits_carbon_reduction.htm
- MacKay, David. 2009. “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.” UIT Cambridge Ltd., Cambridge, England. http://www.withouthotair.com/ (Relevant old post here)
…and then I tried to put everything in the form of $US per metric ton of CO2 release avoided. All prices are from 2000-2010, for the U.S. lower 48, and I did not make any adjustments for inflation or location. Prices are averaged over the lifetime of the plant or service, so something with high upfront costs but a long lifetime can have a lower cost than a cheap but short-lived solution. None of the prices include compression and storage, because that price varies very heavily based on how close the storage location is.