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"A Technical and Economic Assessment of Transport and Storage of CO2 in Deep Saline Aquifers for Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Control"

Sean McCoy

Global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have stimulated considerable interest in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a potential “bridging technology” that can achieve significant CO2 emission reductions while allowing fossil fuels to be used until alternative energy sources are more widely deployed. Electric power plants are among the most attractive sources for CCS since they are point sources that are responsible for 39.3% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the United States. From an engineering standpoint, the most promising sinks for the storage of captured CO2 appear to be geological formations. Options for the storage of CO2 include: producing and depleted oil reservoirs, deep unminable coal seams and, deep saline aquifers. This paper presents engineering and economic models of transport of CO2 by pipeline to the storage site and geological storage in deep saline aquifers. A case study considering storage of CO2 from a 500 MW pulverized coal (PC) power plant in the Wabamun Lake area of Alberta, Canada has shown that the median cost of transport and storage is $1.94 per tonne of CO2 stored ranging from a 5th percentile of $0.78 per tonne to a 95th percentile $14.59 per tonne. The variability of the transport and storage cost is found to be primarily due to the reservoir parameters, transport distance, and plant capacity factor. Based on these results, the cost of transport and storage is a small part of the total cost of CCS, but there will be cases in which the cost of transport and storage are large. The strong dependence of the transport and storage cost on the reservoir parameters implies that cost estimates for transport and storage must take this variability into account, and that policies aimed at encouraging reductions in CO2 emissions in the power sector via CCS must recognize that this option may not be economically viable in all cases.

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