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Expert opinions on carbon dioxide capture and storage: a framing of uncertainties and possibilities
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology.
2009 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 37, no 6, 2273-2282 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are many uncertainties and knowledge gaps regarding the development of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS)-e.g., when it comes to costs, life-cycle effects, storage capacity and permanence. In spite of these uncertainties and barriers, the CCS research community is generally very optimistic regarding CCS' development. The discrepancy between the uncertainties and the optimism is the point of departure in this study, which is based on interviews with 24 CCS experts. The aim is to analyse experts' framings of CCS with focus on two key aspects: (i) the function and potential of CCS and (ii) uncertainties. The optimism among the CCS experts is tentatively explained. The interpretative flexibility of CCS is claimed to be an essential explanation for the optimism. CCS is promoted from a wide variety of perspectives, e.g., solidarity and peace, bridge to a sustainable energy system, sustaining the modern lifestyle and compatibility with the fossil fuel lock-in. Awareness of the uncertainties and potential over-optimism is warranted within policy and decision making as they often rely on scientific forecasts and experts' judgements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 37, no 6, 2273-2282 p.
Keyword [en]
Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS); Expert opinions; Uncertainty
National Category
Energy Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10980DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2009.02.018ISI: 000266233300031ScopusID: 2-s2.0-64749097036OAI: diva2:233607
QC 20100727Available from: 2009-09-01 Created: 2009-09-01 Last updated: 2010-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Opportunities and uncertainties in the early stages of development of CO2 capture and storage
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Opportunities and uncertainties in the early stages of development of CO2 capture and storage
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The topic of this thesis is carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS), which is a technology that is currently being promoted by industries, scientists and governments, among others, in order to mitigate climate change despite a continued use of fossil fuels. Because of the complex nature of CCS and the risks it entails, it is controversial. The aim of this thesis is to analyse how the technology may be further developed in a responsible manner. In the first part of the thesis different methods for capturing CO2 from industrial processes as well as power plants are analysed. The aim is to identify early opportunities for CO2 capture, which is considered important because of the urgency of the climate change problem. Three potential early opportunities are studied: i) capturing CO2 from calcining processes such as cement industries by using the oxyfuel process, ii) capturing CO2 from pressurised flue gas, and iii) capturing CO2 from hybrid combined cycles. Each opportunity has properties that may make them competitive in comparison to the more common alternatives if CCS is realised. However, there are also drawbacks. For example, while capturing CO2 from pressurised flue gas enables the use of more compact capture plant designs as well as less expensive and less toxic absorbents, the concept is neither suitable for retrofitting nor has it been promoted by the large and influential corporations. The second part of the thesis has a broader scope than the first and is multidisciplinary in its nature with inspiration from the research field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). The approach is to critically analyse stakeholder percep-tions regarding CCS, with a specific focus on the CCS experts. The thesis sheds new light on the complexity and scientific uncertainty of CCS as well as on the optimism among many of its proponents. Because of the uncertain development when it comes to climate change, fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, the conclusion is that CCS has to be further developed and demonstrated. A responsible strategy for a future development of CCS would benefit from: i) a search for win-win strategies, ii) increasing use of appropriate analytical tools such as life-cycle analysis, iii) a consideration of fossil fuel scarcity and increasing price volatility, iv) funding of unbiased research and v) increasing simultaneous investments in long-term solutions such as renewable energy alternatives and efficiency improvements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2009. viii, 68 p.
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2009:50
Acceptance, cement, CCS, CO2 capture and storage, early opportunities, enhanced oil recovery, expert opinions, hybrid power cycles, optimism, oxyfuel combustion, pressurised fluidised bed combustion, pilot plant, potassium carbonate, risk, Sargas, scenario studies, scientific uncertainty, stakeholder perceptions
National Category
Chemical Process Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10985 (URN)978-91-7415-413-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-09-28, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
QC 20100727Available from: 2009-09-08 Created: 2009-09-01 Last updated: 2010-07-27Bibliographically approved

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