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Use of experience curves to estimate the future cost of power plants with CO2 capture


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  • Rubin, Edward S.
  • Yeh, Sonia
  • Antes, Matt
  • Berkenpas, Michael
  • Davison, John


Given the dominance of power plant emissions of greenhouse gases, and the growing worldwide interest in CO2 capture and storage (CCS) as a potential climate change mitigation option, the expected future cost of power plants with CO2 capture is of significant interest. Reductions in the cost of technologies as a result of learning-by-doing, R&D investments and other factors have been observed over many decades. This study uses historical experience curves as the basis for estimating future cost trends for four types of electric power plants equipped with CO2 capture systems: pulverized coal (PC) and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants with post-combustion CO2 capture; coal-based integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants with pre-combustion capture; and coal-fired oxyfuel combustion for new PC plants. We first assess the rates of cost reductions achieved by other energy and environmental process technologies in the past. Then, by analogy with leading capture plant designs, we estimate future cost reductions that might be achieved by power plants employing CO2 capture. Effects of uncertainties in key parameters on projected cost reductions also are evaluated via sensitivity analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis in its series Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt46x6h0n0.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt46x6h0n0

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Keywords: UCD-ITS-RP-07-27; Engineering;


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Cited by:
  1. Yeh, Sonia & Rubin, Edward S., 2012. "A review of uncertainties in technology experience curves," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 762-771.
  2. Peters, Michael & Schmidt, Tobias S. & Wiederkehr, David & Schneider, Malte, 2011. "Shedding light on solar technologies'A techno-economic assessment and its policy implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6422-6439, October.
  3. Hadjipaschalis, Ioannis & Kourtis, George & Poullikkas, Andreas, 2009. "Assessment of oxyfuel power generation technologies," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(9), pages 2637-2644, December.
  4. Lai, N.Y.G. & Yap, E.H. & Lee, C.W., 2011. "Viability of CCS: A broad-based assessment for Malaysia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(8), pages 3608-3616.
  5. Aguilera, Roberto F., 2014. "Production costs of global conventional and unconventional petroleum," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 134-140.
  6. Rammerstorfer, Margarethe & Eisl, Roland, 2011. "Carbon capture and storage—Investment strategies for the future?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7103-7111.
  7. Moura, Maria Cecilia P. & Branco, David A. Castelo & Peters, Glen P. & Szklo, Alexandre Salem & Schaeffer, Roberto, 2013. "How the choice of multi-gas equivalency metrics affects mitigation options: The case of CO2 capture in a Brazilian coal-fired power plant," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1357-1366.
  8. Barbara Praetorius & Katja Schumacher, 2008. "Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in a Carbon Constrained World: The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 820, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Tzimas, Evangelos & Georgakaki, Aliki, 2010. "A long-term view of fossil-fuelled power generation in Europe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4252-4264, August.
  10. Evar, Benjamin, 2011. "Conditional inevitability: Expert perceptions of carbon capture and storage uncertainties in the UK context," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3414-3424, June.
  11. Nemet, Gregory F., 2009. "Interim monitoring of cost dynamics for publicly supported energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 825-835, March.
  12. Renner, Marie, 2014. "Carbon prices and CCS Investment:comparative study between the European Union and China," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12983, Paris Dauphine University.
  13. Marie Renner, 2014. "Carbon prices and CCS investment: comparative study between the European Union and China," Working Papers 1402, Chaire Economie du Climat.
  14. Hayward, Jennifer A. & Graham, Paul W., 2013. "A global and local endogenous experience curve model for projecting future uptake and cost of electricity generation technologies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 537-548.
  15. Patrick Criqui & Silvana Mima & Philippe Menanteau & Alban Kitous, 2014. "Mitigation strategies and energy technology learning: an assessment with the POLES model," Post-Print halshs-00999280, HAL.


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