Non-CO2 Environmental Effects from CCS
CCS implies substantial negative non-CO2 environmental effects. These are a result of the technology's inevitable consumption of additional energy on the one hand and the production of a series of physical facilities including capture plants, transportation infrastructure and injection and storage facilities on the other hand. See the CCS chain in this figure.
Environmental impacts from each of the steps in the chain of activities related to a coal-fueled power plant with CCS include:
- Emissions of NOx, SOx, hydrocarbons, particulates, VOCs and heavy metals
- Solid and liquid waste - Impacts on ground and surface water,
- Increased consumption of energy, water and raw materials
- Nature and landscape degradation,
- Noise and aesthetic impacts.
The magnitude of environmental effects that can be attributed to CCS primarily depends on how large an additional consumption of energy the different stages of the technology chain entail. We would have preferred to have been able to quantify these environmental effects, but it has not been possible.
To get a rough idea of the order of magnitude we should focus on the technology's central proces: the capture of CO2. Is the energy consumption per kWh delivered to the consumer eg. 40% higher (see Climate Effects) compared to a situation without CCS, this means that some 40% extra coal should be mined and 40% more coal should be transported. Further on on-site feasibility studies must be carried out, CCS plants be erected, transport infrastructure for captured CO2 be built, captured CO2 must be transported and pumped into the ground. Finally, the stored CO2 needs monitoring and storage facilities must be maintained. Each of these activities has a number of environmental impacts, some of which (eg. mining/transport of coal and the capture of CO2) are immediately quantifiable, while others (eg. construction of facilities and transport of CO2) are not. We have decided simply to give a brief description of the main environmental effects, bearing in mind that environmental impacts occur, whether we are able to quantify them or not.
· mining of coal (additional consumption due to CCS)
· transportation of coal (additional consumption due to CCS)
· on-site-activities (explosions, drilling, operation of heavy duty equipment)
· construction of CCS plants
· operation of CCS plants (capture)
· building of transport infrastructure
How much nitrogen and sulfur, particulate matter, mercury etc. per kWh will be emitted to air, soil and water in the process of installing and using CCS at coal-fired power plants?
What will the overall non-CO2 environmental effects be ?
How much more water will be consumed ?