Assessment of the CO<sub>2</sub> Capture Potential from Irreplaceable Industrial Sources
Peter C. Psarras, Jennifer Wilcox, Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
In 2013, CO<sub>2</sub> emissions from all industrial processes totaled 163.0 MMT, equivalent to the annual CO<sub>2</sub> emissions of roughly 35 million automobiles. This figure excludes indirect emissions associated with electricity usage. The heaviest emitters (coal power plants, natural gas combined cycle plants, etc) continue to receive the majority of attention and funding in terms of carbon capture projects; however, these major sources may also benefit from less CO<sub>2</sub>-intensive alternatives. Unfortunately, many industrial processes fall into a category by which there are no alternative routes to product available. For example, steel and cement production both involve processes that directly emit CO<sub>2</sub> as a by-product (via the oxidation of metallurgical coke and conversion of calcium carbonate to lime, respectively). As there materials constitute the irreplaceable fabric of industrialization, CO<sub>2</sub> emissions from these, as from other irreplaceable industrial processes, are projected to increase unabated. With capture technology in place, these emissions can be diverted instead to viable CO<sub>2</sub> reuse and sequestration opportunities, such as oil refining, enhanced oil recovery, food processing, metal treatment, and fertilizer production.
To assess the capture potential of irreplaceable industry, it will be necessary to geo-reference these sources alongside all current and potential future CO<sub>2</sub> users (sinks), with the goal of making economically sound linkages between source and similar-sized usage markets. This will entail a cost analysis of on-site capture plus additional transport costs (freight versus pipeline, hazmat fees, etc.). Geographic information systems (GIS) mapping will assist in defining the most cost-effective mechanisms for CO<sub>2</sub> delivery. As these costs are inventoried, the financial incentive gap necessary to compel the targeted source-sink pairings to move forward is calculated. This effort will develop a current economic assessment of moving irreplaceable industry toward carbon-neutrality. Though these industries represent a small portion (ca. 3%) of total CO<sub>2</sub> emissions, their permanence requires immediate attention. As these low-hanging fruits are tackled, this study may serve as a model for assessing carbon-neutrality in other sectors.
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