NEWS RELASE                                                                                                       FEBRUARY 2014

$30 Billion per Year to Be Spent For Carbon Capture and Sequestration

The direct expenditure to capture and sequester CO2 for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants will be less than $30 billion/yr over the next five years.  However, the expenditures for efficiency improvement from existing coal-fired boilers will result in a total market in excess of $30 billion/yr. This is the conclusion reached in the continually updated Utility CO2 Mitigation Marketspublished by the McIlvaine Company.

The cost of CO2 capture, treatment, transport and sequestration more than doubles the cost of coal-fired electricity generation.  The parasitic power is such that even if 90 percent of the CO2 is captured, the net reduction of CO2 per MWh is only 70 percent.

  Generation Type

Relative CO2

Most Cost Effective

Conventional coal



Supercritical coal



Combined cycle

50 + 10 = 60


Carbon capture and sequestration - coal



Carbon capture and sequestration  with   biomass and coal

Minus 20 to plus 30


Solar, wind nuclear



The most cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gases is to convert all coal-fired power plants to supercritical operation.  The investment cost is more than offset by reductions in coal purchases.  Combined cycle power plants will be the second most attractive option in some parts of the world where gas is plentiful.  However, methane emissions are a variable.  Over one hundred years, methane is only twenty-nine times more potent than CO2, but over the first twenty years, it is one hundred times more potent. The cumulative impact is a function of losses in extraction and transport. Carbon capture and sequestration with beneficial use for enhanced oil recovery is very cost effective. The problem is that most coal-fired CO2 generation is not close to where enhanced oil recovery is needed.

Solar, wind and nuclear are subject to cost variables.  Sites with strong winds or lots of sunshine and sites near the users are more cost effective than others.  Cost overruns with nuclear power plants under construction are adding some uncertainty to the nuclear cost.

Presently, sequestration without beneficial use is the most costly option.  It can also be the most effective.  If substantial amounts of renewable biomass are burned along with the coal and then the exhaust is sequestered, the net effect can be a reduction in greenhouses gases for every unit of electricity generated.

For more information on Utility CO2 Mitigation Markets: click on: