A techno-economic plant- and grid-level assessment of flexible CO2 capture
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Carbon dioxide (CO₂) capture and sequestration (CCS) at fossil-fueled power plants is a critical technology for CO₂ emissions mitigation during the transition to a sustainable energy system. Post-combustion amine scrubbing is a relatively mature CO₂ capture technology, but barriers to implementation include high capital costs and energy requirements that reduce net power output by 20-30%. Capture energy requirements are typically assumed constant, but work investigates whether flexibly operating amine scrubbing systems in response to electricity market conditions can add value to CO₂ capture facilities while maintaining environmental benefits. Two versatile optimization models have been created to study the electricity system implications of flexible CO₂ capture. One model assesses the value of flexible capture at a single facility in response to volatile electricity prices, while the other represents a full electricity system to study the ability of flexible capture to meet electricity demand and reliability (ancillary) service requirements. Price-responsive flexible CO₂ capture has limited value at market conditions that justify CO₂ capture investments. Solvent storage can add value for price arbitrage by allowing flexible operation without additional CO₂ emissions, but only with favorable capital costs. The primary advantage of flexible CO₂ capture is an increased ability to provide grid reliability services and improve grid resiliency at minimum and maximum electricity demand. Flexibility mitigates capacity shortages because capture energy requirements need not be replaced, and variable capture at low demand helps respond to intermittent renewable generation.