There is uncertainty about the ex-ante returns to research, development, and demonstration programs in the United States on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. To quantify this uncertainty, we conducted a written expert elicitation of thirteen experts in fossil power and CCS technologies from the government, academia, and the private sector. We asked experts to provide their recommended budget and allocation of RD&D funds by specific fossil power and CCS technology and type of RD&D activity (i.e. basic research, applied research, pilot plants, and demonstration plants) for the United States. The elicitation instrument was structured around estimating the cost and performance of coal-fired power plants with and without CCS in the years 2010 and 2030 under four funding scenarios for federal fossil energy RD&D in the USA. The most important areas identified for basic research were chemical looping combustion and membrane technology. The most important area for commercial demonstration was integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). There was substantial disagreement between experts on both the current and future capital cost to build a new coal-fired power plant with CCS. There was also disagreement across experts as to whether the capital cost of a new coal plant with CCS would increase or decrease if federal RD&D funding stayed constant at current levels. However, there was a consensus among our experts that accelerated federal RD&D would (weakly) lower the capital cost requirements for a new coal plant with CCS. On average, experts estimated that if their recommended RD&D portfolio was implemented, the capital cost of new coal plants with CCS in 2030 would decrease by 10% in addition to the cost reductions/increases that would occur by 2030 through non-public RD&D related factors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to the Climate Change Initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for supporting the work of the ERD3 Policy project of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy group at the Harvard Kennedy School. The authors would also like to thank Mohammed Al-Juaied and Howard Herzog for feedback on the expert elicitation instrument and Asma Hamdane for background research. All errors are responsibility of the authors.
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- Cost of CCS
- Development and demonstration
- Expert elicitation
- Modelling technical change