- Student Dissertation or Thesis
Abstract: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of many critical tools to mitigate global climate change. Much analytic work has been dedicated to evaluating the cost and performance of various CO2 capture technologies, but less attention has been paid to evaluating the cost of CO2 transport and storage. This paper assesses the range of CO2 transport and storage costs and evaluates their impact on economy-wide modelling results of decarbonization pathways. Many integrated assessment modeling studies assume a combined cost for CO2 transport and storage that is uniform in all regions of the world, commonly estimated at $10/tCO2. Realistically, the cost of CO2 transport and storage is not fixed at $10/tCO2 and varies across geographic, geologic, and institutional settings. I surveyed the literature to identify key sources of variability in transport and storage costs and developed a method to quantify and incorporate these elements into a cost range. I find that onshore pipeline transport and storage costs vary from $4 to 45/tCO2 depending on key sources of variability including transport distance, scale (i.e. quantity of CO2 transported and stored), monitoring assumptions, reservoir geology, and transport cost variability such as pipeline capital costs. Using the MIT Economic Projection and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, I examined the impact of variability in transport and storage costs by applying a range of uniform costs in all geographic regions in a future where global temperature rise is limited to 2°C. I then developed several modeling cases where transport and storage costs vary regionally. In these latter cases, global cumulative CO2 captured and stored through 2100 ranges from 290 to 377 Gt CO2, compared to 425 Gt CO2 when costs are assumed to be uniformly $10/t CO2 in all regions. I conclude that the widely used assumption of $10/tCO2 for the transport and storage of CO2 is reasonable in some regions, but not in others. Moreover, CCS deployment is more sensitive to transport and storage costs in some regions than others, particularly China. Several transport and storage options should be taken into account when modeling large-scale deployment of CCS in decarbonization pathways. However, cost data are scarce and there is still a significant amount of uncertainty and variability in available transport and storage costs.