Environmental Damage Assessment of Carbon Capture and Storage

Application of End-Point Indicators


  • Bhawna Singh,

  • Anders H. Strømman,

  • Edgar G. Hertwich

Bhawna Singh, E1-Høgskoleringen 5, Industrial Ecology Programme, Department of Energy and Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim-7491, Norway. Email:bhawna.singh@ntnu.no


An end-point life cycle impact assessment is used to evaluate the damages of electricity generation from fossil fuel-based power plants with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology. Pulverized coal (PC), integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants are assessed for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, pipeline transport, and storage in a geological formation. Results show that the CCS systems reduce the climate change-related damages but increase the damages from toxicity, acidification, eutrophication, and resource consumption. Based on the currently available damage calculation methods, it is concluded that the benefit of reducing damage from climate change is larger than the increases in other damage categories, such as health effects from particulates or toxic chemicals. CCS significantly reduces the overall environmental damage, with a net reduction of 60% to 70% in human health damage and 65% to 75% in ecosystem damage. Most of the damage is due to fuel production and combustion processes. The energy and infrastructure demands of CCS cause increases in the depletion of natural resources by 33% for PC, 19% for IGCC, and 18% for NGCC power plants, mostly due to increased fossil fuel consumption.