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Issue 2, 2009
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The energy penalty of post-combustion CO2 capture & storage and its implications for retrofitting the U.S. installed base

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Abstract

A review of the literature has found a factor of 4 spread in the estimated values of the energy penalty for post-combustion capture and storage of CO2 from pulverized-coal (PC) fired power plants. We elucidate the cause of that spread by deriving an analytic relationship for the energy penalty from thermodynamic principles and by identifying which variables are most difficult to constrain. We define the energy penalty for CCS to be the fraction of fuel that must be dedicated to CCS for a fixed quantity of work output. That penalty can manifest itself as either the additional fuel required to maintain a power plant's output or the loss of output for a constant fuel input. Of the 17 parameters that constitute the energy penalty, only the fraction of available waste heat that is recovered for use and the 2nd-law separation efficiency are poorly constrained. We provide an absolute lower bound for the energy penalty of ∼11%, and we demonstrate to what degree increasing the fraction of available-waste-heat recovery can reduce the energy penalty from the higher values reported. It is further argued that an energy penalty of ∼40% will be easily achieved while one of ∼29% represents a decent target value. Furthermore, we analyze the distribution of PC plants in the U.S. and calculate a distribution for the additional fuel required to operate all these plants with CO2 capture and storage (CCS).

Graphical abstract: The energy penalty of post-combustion CO2 capture & storage and its implications for retrofitting the U.S. installed base

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jul 2008, accepted on 16 Dec 2008 and first published on 23 Jan 2009


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/B811608C
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2009,2, 193-205
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    The energy penalty of post-combustion CO2 capture & storage and its implications for retrofitting the U.S. installed base

    K. Z. House, C. F. Harvey, M. J. Aziz and D. P. Schrag, Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 193
    DOI: 10.1039/B811608C

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