Prospective techno-economic and environmental assessment of carbon capture at a refinery and CO2 utilisation in polyol synthesis

Cora Fernández-Dacosta*, Mijndert van der Spek, Christine Roxanne Hung, Gabriel David Oregionni, Ragnhild Skagestad, Prashant Parihar, D. T. Gokak, Anders Hammer Strømman, Andrea Ramírez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)
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CO2 utilisation is gaining interest as a potential element towards a sustainable economy. CO2 can be used as feedstock in the synthesis of fuels, chemicals and polymers. This study presents a prospective assessment of carbon capture from a hydrogen unit at a refinery, where the CO2 is either stored, or partly stored and partly utilised for polyols production. A methodology integrating technical, economic and environmental models with uncertainty analysis is used to assess the performance of carbon capture and storage or utilisation at the refinery. Results show that only 10% of the CO2 captured from an industrial hydrogen unit can be utilised in a commercial-scale polyol plant. This option has limited potential for large scale CO2 mitigation from industrial sources. However, CO2 capture from a hydrogen unit and its utilisation for the synthesis of polyols provides an interesting alternative from an economic perspective. The costs of CO2-based polyol are estimated at 1200 €/t polyol, 16% lower than those of conventional polyol. Furthermore, the costs of storing the remaining CO2 are offset by the benefits of cheaper polyol production. Therefore, the combination of CO2 capture and partial utilisation provides an improved business case over capture and storage alone. The environmental assessment shows that the climate change potential of this CO2 utilisation system is 23% lower compared to a reference case in which no CO2 is captured at the refinery. Five other environmental impact categories included in this study present slightly better performance for the utilisation case than for the reference case.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-422
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of CO2 Utilization
Early online date15 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Abbreviations BEC bare erected cost
  • CC climate change
  • CCS carbon capture and storage
  • CCS/U carbon capture storage and utilisation
  • CCU carbon capture and utilisation
  • CCUS carbon capture utilization and storage
  • cPC cyclic propylene carbonate
  • DMC double metal cyanide
  • EDD environmental due diligence
  • EDDiCCUT Environmental Due Diligence of novel CO Capture and Utilization Technologies
  • EPCC engineering, procurement and construction costs
  • FD fossil depletion
  • FE freshwater eutrophication
  • FU functional unit
  • G glycerol
  • HP high pressure
  • HT human toxicity
  • LCA life cycle assessment
  • LCI life cycle inventory
  • LCOE levelised cost of electricity
  • LCOP levelised cost of product
  • LHV lower heating value
  • LP low pressure
  • MDEA methyl diethanolamine
  • MPG monopropylene glycol
  • NMVOC non-methane volatile organic carbon
  • PBP payback period
  • PEC purchased equipment costs
  • PMF particulate matter formation
  • PO propylene oxide
  • POF photochemical oxidant formation
  • PP polyether polyol
  • PPC polyethercarbonate polyol
  • PSA pressure swing adsorption
  • PU polyurethane
  • R&D research & development
  • REF reference case
  • SA system area
  • TA terrestrial acidification
  • WGS water gas shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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