Carbon Sequestration Research and Analysis
Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute team members Kenneth Richards and Emily Giovanni have conducted multiple analyses exploring the economic, legal, and policy challenges associated with the development of carbon capture and storage or sequestration (CCS) technology. One such analysis for Duke Energy and Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs included two primary elements: (1) an economic analysis of the integrated gasification combined cycle technology with CCS relative to alternative electricity generation technologies and (2) an analysis of the law and economics of property rights in subsurface pore space.
For the first element, the team developed an engineering cost model of three technology alternatives, each with and without CCS. To conduct the comparative analysis, the team developed a unique multi-stage cost model for CCS in the electric sector, which quantitatively evaluates 57 exogenous variables affecting CCS costs and optimal technology choice. The team also developed a novel method of diagramming the combined effects of carbon price, natural gas price, and coal prices for determining the least cost technology, resulting in an in-depth analysis of the technology using innovative graphics to convey the quantitative results. Kenneth Richards and Emily Giovanni coauthored an economic and policy evaluation paper on their analysis for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, presented results at a national conference, and conducted an exhaustive literature review of CCS technologies, costs, and potential.
The second element began with a discussion of the technological, geological, and economic aspects of CCS, followed by a review of various approaches to ownership of subsurface pore space and the systematic identification of the challenges with establishing property rights necessary for CCS projects. Kenneth Richards and coauthors from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs developed the research into an article entitled “Pouring Out Our Soils: Facing the Challenge of Poorly Defined Property Rights in Subsurface Pore Space for Carbon Capture and Storage” for the George Washington University Journal of Energy and Environmental Law.