RECCS plus

Renewable Energies (RE) in Comparison to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): An Update

  • Project no.2138
  • Duration 05/2009 - 06/2010

The aim of the RECCS plus project was to update the RECCS study published by Wuppertal Institute, DLR, ZSW and PIK in 2007 (see: "Further project information"). In the course of the past three years, research into CCS and its application have undergone highly dynamic development, leading to numerous changes in the fields of technology, society and politics.
For this reason, RECCS plus explored the new developments in CO2 capture and the accompanying political developments in the past two years, particularly related to Germany and the EU. In addition, it examined the attitudes of important stakeholders towards CCS as an option for climate protection. Furthermore, recent environmental impact assessments were combined, the cost development of CCS power plants versus renewable energies was investigated, and existing long-term energy scenarios were updated by including CCS.
In addition to updating and extending the first RECCS report, three completely new areas were added. Firstly, the main focus lies on assessing the potentials for CO2 storage in Germany and its neighbouring countries as well as methods for assessing capacities. Secondly, the development of the legal situation in Germany and the EU was analysed. Finally, the alternative uses of CO2 besides storage were discussed

Main outcome
If the current energy policy priorities are retained, there is no need to focus additionally on CCS in the power plant sector in Germany. This applies even in the case of ambitious climate protection targets. The study covers a variety of aspects: firstly, the technology is not expected to become available on a large scale before 2025; secondly, if renewable energies and combined heat and power are expanded further and energy productivity is enhanced, there is likely to be only a limited demand for CCS power plants. The electricity generating costs of renewable energies are approaching those of CCS power plants, with the consequence that in 2020, several renewable technologies may well be in a position to offer electricity at a cheaper rate than CCS power plants. In addition, new life cycle assessments for CO2 separation in the power plant sector indicate that the greenhouse gas emissions from one kilowatt hour of electricity generated by first-generation CCS power plants could only be reduced by 68 to 87 per cent (95 per cent in individual cases). With regard to the climate protection targets of large coal-consuming countries such as China, India and the USA, however, CCS could indeed constitute an important climate protection technology.

The long-term energy scenarios were subcontracted to Dr. Joachim Nitsch (Stuttgart), the development of the legal situation was subcontracted to Dr. Lars Dietrich (lawyer's office Wolter Hoppenberg, Hamm), and the translation into English was carried out by Teresa Gehrs (Europäischer Sprachendienst Osnabrück, now LinguaConnect Osnabrück).