CarbonCure: concrete breakthrough?

CarbonCure injects CO2 into concrete during the mixing process, where it mineralizes to form CaCO3. The resultant product is up to 20% stronger and can most likely save 4-6% of the CO2 intensity of finished concrete.

Total CO2 abatement has recently been running at 60kTpa, across 300 customers, with a long-term aspiration abate as much as 500MTpa potentially.

The technology scores OK on the TSE patent framework, although some question-marks are explored in the data-file, especially around the specific solutions discussed in the patents.

CO2 capture: a cost curve?

This data-file summarizes the costs of capturing CO2 from different sources, so that it can be converted into materials, electro-fuels or sequestered.

Specifically, we have estimated the full-cycle costs (in $/ton), ultimate potential (in MTpa) and other technical considerations, linking to our other models and data-files.

The lowest-cost options are to access pure CO2 streams that are simply being vented at present, such as from the ethanol or LNG industries, but the ultimate running-room from this opportunity set is <200MTpa.

Blue hydrogen, steel and cement place next on the cost curve and could each have GTpa scale. Power stations place next, at $60-100/ton.

DAC is conceptually attractive, as the only carbon negative technology, but if all CO2 molecules in the atmosphere are fungible, it is not clear why you would pursue DAC until options lower down the cost curve had been exhausted.

CO2 electrolysis: the economics?

Carbon monoxide is an important chemical input for metals, materials and fuels. Could it be produced by capturing CO2 from the atmosphere or using the amine process, then electrolysing the CO2 into CO and oxygen?

This data-file models the economics of CO2 electrolysis, including recent advances from leading industrial gas companies, and by analogy to hydrogen electrolysis.

10% IRRs can be achieved at $800/ton carbon monoxide pricing, which can be competitive with conventional syngas production, and far more economic than small-scale distribution of CO containers.

The data-file contains input assumptions, detailed notes from half-a-dozen recent technical papers, and short summary of different companies’ initiatives, including Haldor Topsoe, Siemens, Covestro, Methanex and Carbon Recycling.

Tree database: forests to offset CO2?

Nature-based solutions are among the most effective ways to abate CO2. Forest offsets will cost $2-50/ton, decarboning liquid fuels for <$0.5/gallon and natural gas for <$1/mcf (chart below).

The data-file tabulates hundreds of data-points from technical papers and industry reports on different tree and grass types. It covers their growing conditions, survival rates, lifespans, rates of CO2 absorption (per tree and per acre) and their water requirements (examples below).

 

Carbon offsets: costs and leading companies?

This data-file tabulates the costs of carbon offsets being offered to consumers and commercial customers by c30 companies. Prices are surprisingly low, ranging from $4-40/ton of CO2.

Which projects are most economical? Costs are lowest at forestry projects, particularly at companies where you pay “per tree” rather than “per ton” of CO2. They are also lower at non-profits (which also means contributions are tax-deductible). Finally, they are lowest at companies undertaking projects directly, rather than as “middlemen” (charts below).

Are they CO2 offsets real? The also file contains detailed notes on each company, to assess their credentials. Moreover, it tabulates 1,600 carbon offset projects which are assured by agencies such as the ‘Verified Carbon Standard’, Gold Standard and Green-E, for a broader perspective.

Offset your own CO2? We have used the data-file to select and allocate carbon offsetting dollars to Eden Reforestation, One Tree Planted, The Gold Standard and Sea Trees. We are happy to discuss CO2 offsetting with TSE clients and those using the data-file.

Ventures for an Energy Transition?

This database tabulates almost 300 venture investments made by 9 of the leading Oil Majors, as the energy industry advances and transitions.

The largest portion of activity is now aimed at incubating New Energy technologies (c50% of the investments), as might be expected. Conversely, when we first created the data-file, in early-2019, the lion’s share of historical investments were in upstream technologies (c40% of the total). The investments are also highly digital (c40% of the total).

Four Oil Majors are incubating capabilities in new energies, as the energy system evolves. We are impressed by the opportunities they have accessed. Venturing is likely the right model to create most value in this fast-evolving space.

The full database shows which topic areas are most actively targeted by the Majors’ venturing, broken down across 25 sub-categories, including by company. We also chart which companies have gained stakes in the most interesting start-ups.

Alternative truck fuels: how economic?

This data-file compares different trucking fuels — diesel, CNG, LNG, LPG and Hydrogen — across 35 variables. Most important are the economics, which are fully modelled, in the 2020s in the US, in the 2020s in Europe and incorporating deflation in the 2040s.

Hydrogen still screens as an expensive alternative. We estimate full cycle freight costs will be c30% higher for hydrogen vehicles than diesels in Europe, and as much as 2x higher in the US. The data-file contains a breakdown of hydrogen truck concepts and their operating parameters.

Natural Gas can be close to competitive. On an energy-equivalent basis, $3/mcf gas is 4x more economical than $3/gal diesel. However, the advantages are offset by higher vehicle costs, operational costs and logistical costs. Mild environmental positives of gas are also offset by mild operational challenges.

Restoring soil carbon: the economics?

This model illustrates the economics for conservation agriculture, restoring soil carbon to improve agricultural yields, while also sequestering 5-30T of CO2 per acre per year.

Agricultural economics are transformed from marginal to material, as yields improve 10-20% and costs fall 36-73%, including the potential elimination of fertilizer application.

Please download the model to stress-test input assumptions into corn prices, fertilizer prices, diesel prices and CO2 prices; as well as yields and soil carbon uptake rates.

CO2 disposal in geologic formations: the economics?

Costs of disposing of CO2 are extremely variable and project-dependent, ranging from $5-50/ton, with a base case of $22.5/ton. This is the disposal price needed to earn a 10% post-tax IRR, transporting, injecting and monitoring CO2 in the sub-surface.

This model captures the economics and costs of CO2 sequestration in geological formations, as a function of a dozen input variables: such as CO2 prices, costs, transportation distances and reservoir properties.

Our capex and opex estimates are broken down, line-by-line across c30 different line-items, using granular technical disclosures from the EPA’s GEOCAT database. Our modelled costs are also compared with detailed estimates for offshore disposal beneath the UK North Sea, based on recent technical papers.

Please download the data-file to stress tests the economics.

Financial and CO2 Costs of Heaters, Boilers and Heat Pumps

This data-file models the costs and CO2 intensities of four different heating solutions: oil-fired furnaces, gas boilers, electric heaters and electrically-powered heat pumps.

Gas-fired boilers are most justified in gaining future market share, based on our cost data, even after paying $50/ton for CO2 offsets, to decarbonize the gas. Heat pumps are most efficient.

To compare and contrast the different solutions, you can vary oil prices, gas prices and power prices in the data-file.

Costs and efficiencies of the boilers and heat pumps are based on the specifications of products available online in 2020, which are also tabulated in the data-file.

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2022.