Unravelling uncertainty and variability in early stage techno-economic assessments of carbon capture technologies

Mijndert van der Spek*, Eva Sanchez Fernandez, Nils Henrik Eldrup, Ragnhild Skagestad, Andrea Ramirez, André Faaij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the uncertainty and variability in techno-economic studies of carbon capture technologies, based on a detailed comparison of the results of different studies on postcombustion CO2 capture with advanced amines, and on an in-depth uncertainty analysis using a combination of sensitivity and pedigree analyses. The results show that despite efforts to harmonize capital cost estimates, the capital cost results of the same PCC carbon capture systems can still show large (65%) differences. This uncertainty may simply be inherent to early stage cost estimates. Amongst the most important causes for the variability shown in this work are differences in equipment sizing methods and purchased equipment cost estimates. This capital cost variability only mildly propagates into the Levelised Cost of Electricity and Cost of CO2 Avoided, more so in case of low power plant utilisation scenarios. To enhance insight into these uncertainties and enable their communication, the paper argues to use in-depth uncertainty evaluation for early stage techno-economic studies. It suggests to complement current practice of sensitivity analysis with pedigree analysis and to combine the results of both analyses in diagnostic diagrams. This may lead to more informed interpretation of the results of techno-economic studies, and helps focus techno-economic research efforts towards the parameters that most influence final performance indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
Early online date8 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Advanced amines
  • AMP/PZ
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Early stage techno-economic assessment
  • Feasibility study
  • Pedigree analysis
  • Uncertainty analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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