Quantifying the role and value of chemical looping combustion in future electricity systems via a retrosynthetic approach

04 Jul 2018

Carbon capture and sequestration of CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels in thermal power plants is expected to be important in the mitigation of climate change. Deployment however falls far short of what is required. A key barrier is the perception by developers and investors that these technologies are too inefficient, expensive and risky. To address these issues, we have developed a novel retrosynthetic approach to evaluate technologies and their design based on the demands of the system in which they would operate. We have applied it to chemical looping combustion (CLC), a promising technology, which enables carbon dioxide emissions to be inherently captured from the combustion of fossil fuels. Our approach has provided unique insight into the potential role and value of different CLC variants in future electricity systems and the likely impact of their integration on the optimal capacity mix, the operational and system cost, and dispatch patterns. The three variants investigated could all provide significant value by reducing the total investment and operational cost of a future electricity system. The minimisation of capital cost appears to be key for the attractiveness of CLC, rather than other factors such as higher efficiency or lower oxygen carrier costs.