Overall environmental impacts of CCS technologies-A life cycle approach

In the last decade the environmental performance of climate effective carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) considering also other environmental effects has become focus of several studies. With various technological CCS options under development, the field of possible technical solutions is hardly covered yet. This paper identifies technologies whose environmental effects have been analysed from a life cycle perspective. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has proved to be a helpful tool to investigate the environmental consequences associated with the introduction of CCS. Even though, big differences in underlying assumptions of existing studies make comparison difficult, some general effects can be described. In general the intended reduction in GWP by introducing CO2 capture (up to – 85% hard coal oxyfuel, – 95% lignite oxyfuel, – 80% natural gas post-combustion) is combined with an increase of other environmental effects, regardless of capture technology, time horizon or fuel considered. Performing the normalisation step shows that acidification and human toxicity potential have to be watched as well. Additionally, three parameter sets have been identified, which have a significant impact on the effects: (a) development of plant efficiencies and energy penalties; (b) capture efficiency; (c) fuel origin and composition. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.