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21 Jul 2009: Cost of Carbon Capture
Will Drop Sharply in Future, Report Says

The cost of capturing and storing CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants is likely to double the price of electricity in the near-term, but technological advances are expected to significantly reduce the costs of carbon sequestration in the long term, according to a report from Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Existing technologies would allow plants to capture and store underground about 90 percent of C02 emissions at a cost of $100 to $150 per ton of carbon, according to the report. That would add 8 to 12 cents per kilowatt hour to the cost of generating electricity, effectively doubling the current average price of about 9 cents per kilowatt hour. But as the technology matures, the costs will come down. Future generations of CCS — or carbon capture and storage — will cost about $30 to $50 per ton, adding 2 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. “The range of estimated costs for [future] plants is within the range of plausible future carbon prices,” the researchers concluded, “implying that mature technology would be competitive with conventional fossil fuel plants at prevailing carbon prices.” The report also noted that capturing and storing nearly all of a plant’s CO2 emissions costs little more than capturing only a fraction of emissions.

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