Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Annex 1


  CO2 capture is usually the main cost in a CCS scheme so the choice of capture technology is important. Comparisons between the costs for different options can be difficult, however, as the following table illustrates. Even though these studies were undertaken using standard IEA GHG assumptions (and the latter two by mainly the same team) absolute capital costs are not entirely consistent: IGCC appears to have the same cost as pulverised coal rather than the 10-20% more that is widely thought to be the case and an identical pulverised coal plant has different prices in US dollars for the last two studies due to exchange rate fluctuations. But this is recognised in the wide +/-30% error margins quoted for capital costs. It is also why power plants are bought by tender!

  The yellow shaded areas show the performance figures and normalised relative costs, which are likely to be more reliable indicators. Perhaps surprisingly, the performance for all the options is very similar. The Texaco IGCC plant has a small efficiency drop for capture, but still has a lower absolute efficiency value. The incremental capital cost for capture on IGCC plants is around 30% extra against 50% for post combustion and oxyfuel, but this would be offset by an extra 10-20% initial capital cost for IGCC. Other factors would therefore probably be more influential than cost in choices between these alternative capture options for new coal plant.

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