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Sectoral CO2 emissions

The CO2 emissions from various sources worldwide have been estimated by the IEA (2003). These are shown in Table 1.1, which shows that power generation is the single largest source of emissions. Other sectors where emissions arise from a few large point sources are Other Energy Industries7 and parts of the Manufacturing and Construction sector.

Emissions from transport, which is the second largest sector (Table 1.1), have been growing faster than those from energy and industry in the last few decades (IPCC, 2001a); a key difference is that transport emissions are mainly from a multiplicity of small, distributed sources. These differences have implications for possible uses of CO2 capture and storage, as will be seen later in this chapter.

1.2.3 Other greenhouse gas emiss ions

Anthropogenic climate change is mainly driven by emissions of CO2 but other greenhouse gases (GHGs) also play a part8. Since some of the anthropogenic CO2 comes from industrial processes and some from land use changes (mainly deforestation), the contribution from fossil fuel combustion alone is about half of the total from all GHGs.

In terms of impact on radiative forcing, methane is the next most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas after CO2 (currently accounting for 20% of the total impact) (IPCC, 2001b). The energy sector is an important source of methane but agriculture and domestic waste disposal contribute more to the global total (IPCC, 2001c). Nitrous oxide contributes directly to climate change (currently 6% of the total impact of all GHGs); the main source is agriculture but another is

7 The Other Energy Industries sector includes oil refineries, manufacture of solid fuels, coal mining, oil and gas extraction, and other energy-producing industries.

8 It is estimated that the global radiative forcing of anthropogenic CO2 is approximately 60% of the total due to all anthropogenic GHGs (IPCC, 2001b).

the industrial production of some chemicals; other oxides of nitrogen have an indirect effect. A number of other gases make significant contributions (IPCC, 2001c).

1.2.4 Scenarios of future emissions

Future emissions may be simulated using scenarios which are: 'alternative images of how the future might unfold and are (...) tools (...) to analyse how driving forces may influence future emissions ( ) and to assess the associated uncertainties.' 'The possibility that any single emissions path will occur as described in scenarios is highly uncertain' (IPCC, 2000a). In advance of the Third Assessment Report, IPCC made an effort to identify future GHG emission pathways. Using several assumptions, IPCC built a set of scenarios of what might happen to emissions up to the year 2100. Six groups of scenarios were published (IPCC, 2000a): the 'SRES scenarios'. None of these assume any specific climate policy initiatives; in other words, they are base cases which can be used for considering the effects of mitigation options. An illustrative scenario was chosen for each of the groups. The six groups were organized into four 'families' covering a wide range of key 'future' characteristics such as demographic change, economic development, and technological change (IPCC, 2000a). Scenario families A1 and A2 emphasize economic development, whilst B1 and B2 emphasize global and local solutions for, respectively, economic, social and environmental sustainability. In addition, two scenarios, A1F1 and A1T, illustrate alternative developments in energy technology in the A1 world (see Figure TS.1 in IPCC, 2001a).

Given the major role played by fossil fuels in supplying energy to modern society, and the long periods of time involved in changing energy systems (Marchetti and Nakicenovic, 1979), the continued use of fossil fuels is arguably a good base-case scenario. Further discussion of how CCS may affect scenarios can be found in Chapter 8.

Most of these scenarios yield future emissions which are significantly higher than today's levels. In 2100, these scenarios show, on average, between 50% and 250% as much annual

CO2 emissions as current rates. Adding together all of the CO2 emissions projected for the 21st century, the cumulative totals lie in the range of 3,480 to 8,050 GtCO2 (950 to 2,200 GtC) depending on the selected scenario (IPCC, 2001e).

It should be noted that there is potential for confusion about the term 'leakage' since this is widely used in the climate change literature in a spatial sense to refer to the displacement of emissions from one source to another. This report does not discuss leakage of this kind but it does look at the unintended release of CO2 from storage (which may also be termed leakage). The reader is advised to be aware of the possible ambiguity in the use of the term leakage and to have regard to the context where this word is used in order to clarify the meaning.

1.3 Options for mitigating climate change

As mentioned above, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change calls for the stabilization of the atmospheric concentration of GHGs but, at present, there is no agreement on what the specific level should be. However, it can be recognized that stabilization of concentrations will only occur once the rate of addition of GHGs to the atmosphere equals the rate at which natural systems can remove them - in other words, when the rate of anthropogenic emissions is balanced by the rate of uptake by natural processes such as atmospheric reactions, net transfer to the oceans, or uptake by the biosphere.

In general, the lower the stabilization target and the higher the level of baseline emissions, the larger the required reduction in emissions below the baseline, and the earlier that it must occur. For example, stabilization at 450 ppmv CO2 would require emissions to be reduced earlier than stabilization at 650 ppmv, with very rapid emission reductions over the next 20 to 30 years (IPCC, 2000a); this could require the employment of all cost-effective potential mitigation options (IPCC, 2001a). Another conclusion, no less relevant than the previous one, is that the range of baseline scenarios tells us that future economic development policies may impact greenhouse gas emissions as strongly as policies and technologies especially developed to address climate change. Some have argued that climate change is more an issue of economic development, for both developed and developing countries, than it is an environmental issue (Moomaw et al., 1999).

The Third Assessment Report (IPCC, 2001a) shows that, in many of the models that IPCC considered, achieving stabilization at a level of 550 ppmv would require global emissions to be reduced by 7-70% by 2100 (depending upon the stabilization profile) compared to the level of emissions in 2001. If the target were to be lower (450 ppmv), even deeper reductions (55-90%) would be required. For the purposes of this discussion, we will use the term 'deep reductions' to imply net reductions of 80% or more compared with what would otherwise be emitted by an individual power plant or industrial facility.

In any particular scenario, it may be helpful to consider the major factors influencing CO2 emissions from the supply and use of energy using the following simple but useful identity (after Kaya, 1995):

CO2 emissions =


This shows that the level of CO2 emissions can be understood to depend directly on the size of the human population, on the level of global wealth, on the energy intensity of the global economy, and on the emissions arising from the production and use of energy. At present, the population continues to rise and average energy use is also rising, whilst the amount of energy required per unit of GDP is falling in many countries, but only slowly (IPCC, 2001d). So achieving deep reductions in emissions will, all other aspects remaining constant, require major changes in the third and fourth factors in this equation, the emissions from energy technology. Meeting the challenge of the UNFCCC's goal will therefore require sharp falls in emissions from energy technology.

A wide variety of technological options have the potential to reduce net CO2 emissions and/or CO2 atmospheric concentrations, as will be discussed below, and there may be further options developed in the future. The targets for emission reduction will influence the extent to which each technique is used. The extent of use will also depend on factors such as cost, capacity, environmental impact, the rate at which the technology can be introduced, and social factors such as public acceptance.

1.3.1 Improve energy efficiency

Reductions in fossil fuel consumption can be achieved by improving the efficiency of energy conversion, transport and end-use, including enhancing less energy-intensive economic activities. Energy conversion efficiencies have been increased in the production of electricity, for example by improved turbines; combined heating, cooling and electric-power generation systems reduce CO2 emissions further still. Technological improvements have achieved gains of factors of 2 to 4 in the energy consumption of vehicles, of lighting and many appliances since 1970; further improvements and wider application are expected (IPCC, 2001a). Further significant gains in both demand-side and supply-side efficiency can be achieved in the near term and will continue to slow the growth in emissions into the future; however, on their own, efficiency gains are unlikely to be sufficient, or economically feasible, to achieve deep reductions in emissions of GHGs (IPCC, 2001a).

1.3.2 Switch to less carbon-intensive fossil fuels

Switching from high-carbon to low-carbon fuels can be cost-effective today where suitable supplies of natural gas are available. A typical emission reduction is 420 kg CO2 MWh-1 for the change from coal to gas in electricity generation; this is about 50% (IPCC, 1996b). If coupled with the introduction of the combined production of heat, cooling and electric power, the reduction in emissions would be even greater. This would make a substantial contribution to emissions reduction from a particular plant but is restricted to plant where supplies of lower carbon fuels are available.

1.3.3 Increased use of low- and near-zero-carbon energy sources

Deep reductions in emissions from stationary sources could be achieved by widespread switching to renewable energy or nuclear power (IPCC, 2001a). The extent to which nuclear power could be applied and the speed at which its use might be increased will be determined by that industry's ability to address concerns about cost, safety, long-term storage of nuclear wastes, proliferation and terrorism. Its role is therefore likely to be determined more by the political process and public opinion than by technical factors (IPCC, 2001a).

There is a wide variety of renewable supplies potentially available: commercial ones include wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal and tidal power, depending on geographic location. Many of them could make significant contributions to electricity generation, as well as to vehicle fuelling and space heating or cooling, thereby displacing fossil fuels (IPCC, 2001a). Many of the renewable sources face constraints related to cost, intermittency of supply, land use and other environmental impacts. Between 1992 and 2002, installed wind power generation capacity grew at a rate of about 30% per year, reaching over 31 GWe by the end of 2002 (Gipe, 2004). Solar electricity generation has increased rapidly (by about 30% per year), achieving 1.1 GW capacity in 2001, mainly in small-scale installations (World Energy Assessment, 2004). This has occurred because of falling costs as well as promotional policies in some countries. Liquid fuel derived from biomass has also expanded considerably and is attracting the attention of several countries, for example Brazil, due to its declining costs and co-benefits in creation of jobs for rural populations. Biomass used for electricity generation is growing at about 2.5% per annum; capacity had reached 40 GW in 2001. Biomass used for heat was estimated to have capacity of 210 GWth in 2001. Geothermal energy used for electricity is also growing in both developed and developing countries, with capacity of 3 GWe in 2001 (World Energy Assessment, 2004). There are therefore many options which could make deep reductions by substituting for fossil fuels, although the cost is significant for some and the potential varies from place to place (IPCC, 2001a).

1.3.4 Sequester CO2 through the enhancement of natural, biological sinks

Natural sinks for CO2 already play a significant role in determining the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. They may be enhanced to take up carbon from the atmosphere. Examples of natural sinks that might be used for this purpose include forests and soils (IPCC, 2000b). Enhancing these sinks through agricultural and forestry practices could significantly improve their storage capacity but this may be limited by land use practice, and social or environmental factors. Carbon stored biologically already includes large quantities of emitted CO2 but storage may not be permanent.

1.3.5 CO2 capture and storage

As explained above, this approach involves capturing CO2 generated by fuel combustion or released from industrial processes, and then storing it away from the atmosphere for a very long time. In the Third Assessment Report (IPCC, 2001a) this option was analyzed on the basis of a few, documented projects (e.g., the Sleipner Vest gas project in Norway, enhanced oil recovery practices in Canada and USA, and enhanced recovery of coal bed methane in New Mexico and Canada). That analysis also discussed the large potential of fossil fuel reserves and resources, as well as the large capacity for CO2 storage in depleted oil and gas fields, deep saline formations, and in the ocean. It also pointed out that CO2 capture and storage is more appropriate for large sources - such as central power stations, refineries, ammonia, and iron and steel plants - than for small, dispersed emission sources.

The potential contribution of this technology will be influenced by factors such as the cost relative to other options, the time that CO2 will remain stored, the means of transport to storage sites, environmental concerns, and the acceptability of this approach. The CCS process requires additional fuel and associated CO2 emissions compared with a similar plant without capture.

Recently it has been recognized that biomass energy used with CO2 capture and storage (BECS) can yield net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere because the CO2 put into storage comes from biomass which has absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere as it grew (Mollersten et al, 2003; Azar et al, 2003). The overall effect is referred to as 'negative net emissions'. BECS is a new concept that has received little analysis in technical literature and policy discussions to date.

1.3.6 Potential for reducing CO2 emissions

It has been determined (IPCC, 2001a) that the worldwide potential for GHG emission reduction by the use of technological options such as those described above amounts to between 6,950 and 9,500 MtCO2 per year (1,900 to 2,600 MtC per year) by 2010, equivalent to about 25 to 40% of global emissions respectively. The potential rises to 13,200 to 18,500 MtCO2 per year (3,600 to 5,050 MtC per year) by 2020. The evidence on which these estimates are based is extensive but has several limitations: for instance, the data used comes from the 1990s and additional new technologies have since emerged. In addition, no comprehensive worldwide study of technological and economic potential has yet been performed; regional and national studies have generally had different scopes and made different assumptions about key parameters (IPCC, 2001a).

The Third Assessment Report found that the option for reducing emissions with most potential in the short term (up to 2020) was energy efficiency improvement while the near-term potential for CO2 capture and storage was considered modest, amounting to 73 to 183 MtCO2 per year (20 to 50 MtC per year) from coal and a similar amount from natural gas (see Table TS.1 in IPCC, 2001a). Nevertheless, faced with the longer-term climate challenge described above, and in view of the growing interest in this option, it has become important to analyze the potential of this technology in more depth.

As a result of the 2002 IPCC workshop on CO2 capture and storage (IPCC, 2002), it is now recognized that the amount of CO2 emissions which could potentially be captured and stored may be higher than the value given in the Third Assessment Report. Indeed, the emissions reduction may be very significant compared with the values quoted above for the period after 2020. Wider use of this option may tend to restrict the opportunity to use other supply options. Nevertheless, such action might still lead to an increase in emissions abatement because much of the potential estimated previously (IPCC, 2001a) was from the application of measures concerned with end uses of energy. Some applications of CCS cost relatively little (for example, storage of CO2 from gas processing as in the Sleipner project (Baklid et al., 1996)) and this could allow them to be used at a relatively early date. Certain large industrial sources could present interesting low-cost opportunities for CCS, especially if combined with storage opportunities which generate compensating revenue, such as CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (IEA GHG, 2002). This is discussed in Chapter 2.

1.3.7 Comparing mitigation options

A variety of factors will need to be taken into account in any comparison of mitigation options, not least who is making the comparison and for what purpose. The remainder of this chapter discusses various aspects of CCS in a context which may be relevant to decision-makers. In addition, there are broader issues, especially questions of comparison with other mitigation measures. Answering such questions will depend on many factors, including the potential of each option to deliver emission reductions, the national resources available, the accessibility of each technology for the country concerned, national commitments to reduce emissions, the availability of finance, public acceptance, likely infrastructural changes, environmental side-effects, etc. Most aspects of this kind must be considered both in relative terms (e.g., how does this compare with other mitigation options?) and absolute terms (e.g., how much does this cost?), some of which will change over time as the technology advances.

The IPCC (2001a) found that improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions by 30% below year-2000 levels using existing technologies at a cost of less than 30 US$/tCO2 (100 US$/tC). Half of this reduction could be achieved with existing technology at zero or net negative costs9. Wider use of renewable energy sources was also found to have substantial potential. Carbon sequestration by forests was considered a promising near-term mitigation option (IPCC, 2000b), attracting commercial attention at prices of 0.8 to 1.1 US$/tCO2 (3-4 US$/tC). The costs quoted for mitigation in most afforestation projects are presented on a different basis from power generation options, making the afforestation examples look more favourable (Freund and Davison, 2002). Nevertheless, even after allowing for this, the cost of current projects is low.

It is important, when comparing different mitigation options, to consider not just costs but also the potential capacity for emission reduction. A convenient way of doing this is to use Marginal Abatement Cost curves (MACs) to describe the potential capacity for mitigation; these are not yet available for all mitigation options but they are being developed (see, for example, IEA GHG, 2000b). Several other aspects of the comparison of mitigation options are discussed later in this chapter and in Chapter 8.

1.4 Characteristics of CO2 capture and storage

In order to help the reader understand how CO2 capture and storage could be used as a mitigation option, some of the key features of the technology are briefly introduced here.

1.4.1 Overview of the CO2 capture and storage concept and its development

Capturing CO2 typically involves separating it from a gas stream. Suitable techniques were developed 60 years ago in connection with the production of town gas; these involved scrubbing the gas stream with a chemical solvent (Siddique, 1990). Subsequently they were adapted for related purposes, such as capturing CO2 from the flue gas streams of coal- or gas-burning plant for the carbonation of drinks and brine, and for enhancing oil recovery. These developments required improvements to the process so as to inhibit the oxidation of the solvent in the flue gas stream. Other types of solvent and other methods of separation have been developed more recently. This technique is widely used today for separating CO2 and other acid gases from natural gas streams10. Horn and Steinberg (1982) and Hendriks et al. (1989) were among the first to discuss the application of this type of technology to mitigation of climate change, focusing initially on electricity generation. CO2 removal is already used in the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels; Audus et al. (1996) discussed the application of capture and storage in this process as a climate protection measure.

In order to transport CO2 to possible storage sites, it is compressed to reduce its volume; in its 'dense phase', CO2 occupies around 0.2% of the volume of the gas at standard temperature and pressure (see Appendix 1 for further information

9 Meaning that the value of energy savings would exceed the technology capital and operating costs within a defined period of time using appropriate discount rates.

10 The total number of installations is not known but is probably several thousand. Kohl and Nielsen (1997) mention 334 installations using physical solvent scrubbing; this source does not provide a total for the number of chemical solvent plants but they do mention one survey which alone examined 294 amine scrubbing plants. There are also a number of membrane units and other methods of acid gas treatment in use today.

about the properties of CO2). Several million tonnes per year of CO2 are transported today by pipeline (Skovholt, 1993), by ship and by road tanker.

In principle, there are many options available for the storage of CO2. The first proposal of such a concept (Marchetti, 1977) envisaged injection of CO2 into the ocean so that it was carried into deep water where, it was thought, it would remain for hundreds of years. In order to make a significant difference to the atmospheric loading of greenhouse gases, the amount of CO2 that would need to be stored in this way would have to be significant compared to the amounts of CO2 currently emitted to the atmosphere - in other words gigatonnes of CO2 per year. The only potential storage sites with capacity for such quantities are natural reservoirs, such as geological formations (the capacity of European formations was first assessed by Holloway et al., 1996) or the deep ocean (Cole et al., 1993). Other storage options have also been proposed, as discussed below.

Injection of CO2 underground would involve similar technology to that employed by the oil and gas industry for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, and for the underground injection of waste as practised in the USA. Wells would be drilled into geological formations and CO2 would be injected in the same way as CO2 has been injected for enhanced oil recovery11 since the 1970s (Blunt et al., 1993; Stevens and Gale, 2000). In some cases, this could lead to the enhanced production of hydrocarbons, which would help to offset the cost. An extension of this idea involves injection into saline formations (Koide et al., 1992) or into unminable coal seams (Gunter et al., 1997); in the latter case, such injection may sometimes result in the displacement of methane, which could be used as a fuel. The world's first commercial-scale CO2 storage facility, which began operation in 1996, makes use of a deep saline formation under the North Sea (Korbol and Kaddour, 1995; Baklid et al., 1996).

Monitoring will be required both for purposes of managing the storage site and verifying the extent of CO2 emissions reduction which has been achieved. Techniques such as seismic surveys, which have developed by the oil and gas industry, have been shown to be adequate for observing CO2 underground (Gale et al., 2001) and may form the basis for monitoring CO2 stored in such reservoirs.

Many alternatives to the storage of dense phase CO2 have been proposed: for example, using the CO2 to make chemicals or other products (Aresta, 1987), fixing it in mineral carbonates for storage in a solid form (Seifritz, 1990; Dunsmore, 1992), storing it as solid CO2 ('dry ice') (Seifritz, 1992), as CO2 hydrate (Uchida et al., 1995), or as solid carbon (Steinberg, 1996). Another proposal is to capture the CO2 from flue gases using micro-algae to make a product which can be turned into a biofuel (Benemann, 1993).

The potential role of CO2 capture and storage as a mitigation

11 For example, there were 40 gas-processing plants in Canada in 2002 separating CO2 and H2S from produced natural gas and injecting them into geological reservoirs (see Chapter 5.2.4). There are also 76 Enhanced Oil Recovery projects where CO2 is injected underground (Stevens and Gale, 2000).

option has to be examined using integrated energy system models (early studies by Yamaji (1997) have since been followed by many others). An assessment of the environmental impact of the technology through life cycle analysis was reported by Audus and Freund (1997) and other studies have since examined this further.

The concept of CO2 capture and storage is therefore based on a combination of known technologies applied to the new purpose of mitigating climate change. The economic potential of this technique to enable deep reductions in emissions was examined by Edmonds et al. (2001), and is discussed in more detail in Chapter 8. The scope for further improvement of the technology and for development of new ideas is examined in later chapters, each of which focuses on a specific part of the system.

1.4.2 Systems for CO2 capture

Figure 1.3 illustrates how CO2 capture and storage may be configured for use in electricity generation. A conventional fossil fuel-fired power plant is shown schematically in Figure 1.3a. Here, the fuel (e.g., natural gas) and an oxidant (typically air) are brought together in a combustion system; heat from this is used to drive a turbine/generator which produces electricity. The exhaust gases are released to atmosphere.

Figure 1.3b shows a plant of this kind modified to capture CO2 from the flue gas stream, in other words after combustion. Once it has been captured, the CO2 is compressed in order to transport it to the storage site. Figure 1.3c shows another variant where CO2 is removed before combustion (pre-combustion decarbonization). Figure 1.3d represents an alternative where nitrogen is extracted from air before combustion; in other words, pure oxygen is supplied as the oxidant. This type of system is commonly referred to as oxyfuel combustion. A necessary part of this process is the recycling of CO2 or water to moderate the combustion temperature.

1.4.3 Range of possible uses

The main application examined so far for CO2 capture and storage has been its use in power generation. However, in other large energy-intensive industries (e.g., cement manufacture, oil refining, ammonia production, and iron and steel manufacture), individual plants can also emit large amounts of CO2, so these industries could also use this technology. In some cases, for example in the production of ammonia or hydrogen, the nature of the exhaust gases (being concentrated in CO2) would make separation less expensive.

The main applications foreseen for this technology are therefore in large, central facilities that produce significant quantities of CO2. However, as indicated in Table 1.1, roughly 38% of emissions arise from dispersed sources such as buildings and, in particular, vehicles. These are generally not considered suitable for the direct application of CO2 capture because of the economies of scale associated with the capture processes as well as the difficulties and costs of transporting small amounts of


Exhaust gases





N2, H20, etc. to atmosphere

C02 to storage






Exhaust gases


C02 to storage

Exhaust gases

C02 recycle Separation



C02 to storage



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