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Uncertainty in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) deployment projections: a cross-model comparison exercise

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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) can be a valuable CO2 mitigation option, but what role CCS will play in the future is uncertain. In this paper we analyze the results of different integrated assessment models (IAMs) taking part in the 27th round of the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) with respect to the role of CCS in long term mitigation scenarios. Specifically we look into the use of CCS as a function of time, mitigation targets, availability of renewables and its use with different fuels. Furthermore, we explore the possibility to relate model results to general and CCS specific model assumptions. The results show a wide range of cumulative capture in the 2010–2100 period (600–3050 GtCO2), but the fact that no model projects less than 600 GtCO2 indicates that CCS is considered to be important by all these models. Interestingly, CCS storage rates are often projected to be still increasing in the second half of this century. Depending on the scenario, at least six out of eight, up to all models show higher storage rates in 2100 than in 2050. CCS shares in cumulative primary energy use are in most models increasing with the stringency of the target or under conservative availability of renewables. The strong variations of CCS deployment projection rates could not be related to the reported differences in the assumptions of the models by means of a cross-model comparison in this sample.

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  1. Globally, only about 17 large-scale integrated projects (i.e. covering the whole chain) under construction or in service have been identified by GCCSI (2013) as of January 2013.

  2. An overview can be found in Morita et al. 2000 as cited in (IPCC 2005).

  3. Precise differences are in Table 25 supplementary material.

  4. In some cases there is even an increase in the amount of primary energy used with CCS, although total primary energy used decreases.

  5. According to Bachu et al. (2007), storage capacity in saline aquifers is more difficult to assess because 1) they are less explored than hydrocarbon reservoirs, 2) aquifers are continuous (p. 436), 3) the mechanisms that determine the capacity are very complicated, and require site-specific data (p. 441).

  6. These estimates are acknowledged not to be exhaustive (GEA 2012).

  7. In order to include the carbon price in the primary energy price we assume a carbon content of 95.3, 56.1, 93.5 and 70.8 kgCO2/GJ for biomass, natural gas, coal, and oil respectively (de Vries et al. 2001). Furthermore, we assume a capture rate of 85 %. For Biomass we assume that 5 kgCO2-eq/GJ are indirect emissions of biomass as summarized in van Vliet et al. (2011:256).

  8. LCOE does not include the carbon price.

  9. This was only tested for Europe for nine models in the Benchmark-Tech-550.


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This research has been carried out in the context of the CATO-2-program. CATO-2 is the Dutch national research program on CO2 Capture and Storage. The program is financially supported by the Dutch government (Ministry of Economic Affairs) and the CATO-2 consortium parties ( Furthermore, this research was conducted with the support of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (

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Correspondence to Barbara Sophia Koelbl.

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This article is part of the Special Issue on “The EMF27 Study on Global Technology and Climate Policy Strategies” edited by John Weyant, Elmar Kriegler, Geoffrey Blanford, Volker Krey, Jae Edmonds, Keywan Riahi, Richard Richels, and Massimo Tavoni.

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Koelbl, B.S., van den Broek, M.A., Faaij, A.P.C. et al. Uncertainty in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) deployment projections: a cross-model comparison exercise. Climatic Change 123, 461–476 (2014).

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