Portfolio analysis of carbon sequestration technologies and barriers to adoption

Jillian Young-Lorenz

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

    911 Downloads (Pure)


    The effective targeting of investment funds and research efforts to reduce industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, while preserving access to fossil fuel energy resources, requires quantitative methods to assess and compare a diverse range of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies in order to rank, prioritise and make sound policy and investment decisions. Proposed CCS methods for the stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 levels need to be analysed for project risks across a range of factors, from the socio-economic to the purely technical. As all CCS technologies face uncertainties and risks to implementation for global commercial-scale adoption, I advocate a portfolio approach for carbon management to spread the risk. The main objective of this thesis is to develop a CCS technology assessment method, and use it to make recommendations for an optimum carbon dioxide emissions reduction portfolio. I develop a semi-quantitative methodology, performing the initial design and calibration on the CCS technology of Geosequestration. The methodology provides a standardised format for decision makers to assess CCS technologies from different business, legal, social, scientific and engineering disciplines. It is intended as a first pass risk assessment and big picture comparison of the current global status of alternative carbon mitigation options for the purpose of developing a carbon management strategy and building a portfolio of carbon sequestration technologies to spread risk. Flexibility in the design of the methodology framework allows for review and modification to account for technology progress and increased amounts of public domain data. This tool provides a multi-criteria feasibility analysis which can be used by governments and industry to rank competing or complementary carbon sequestration options. It can be applied across projects, scientific disciplines and technologies (portfolio analysis) and with some modification, within a specific technology or project (project analysis). I apply the methodology to three carbon sequestration options: Geosequestration, Algae CCS and Biochar CCS, to assess their technical readiness as carbon mitigation options. Based on the application of the methodology, the three technologies are evaluated in terms of probability of adoption from the near to mid-long term. The main differentiators for the top-ranked technologies are non-technical factors like public acceptance, economics, and the existence of regulatory frameworks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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