Construction materials: a screen of costs and CO2 intensities?

This data-file compares different construction materials, calculating the costs, the embedded energy and the embedded CO2 of different construction materials per m2 of wall space.

The file captures both capex and opex: i.e., the production of the materials and the ongoing costs associated with heating and cooling, as different materials have different thermal conductivities.

Covered materials include conventional construction materials such as concrete, cement, steel, brick, wood and glass, plus novel wood-based materials such as cross-laminated timber. Insulated wood and CLT are shown to have the lowest CO2 intensities and can be extremely cost competitive.

The data-file also compares different insulation materials, including their costs, thermal conductivities (W/m.K) and the resultant energy economics of insulation projects.

Cross-laminated timber: the economics?

This data-file captures the economics of cross-laminated timber, a fast-growing construction material that is c80% less CO2-intensive when substituted directly for traditional building materials such as concrete and steel, and results in buildings with 15-35% lower embedded CO2.

The economics are exciting. We find potential to generate 20% IRRs purchasing $25/ton timber and converting into $500/m3 CLT in newbuild production facilities costing $800/m3 pa.

The economics can be stress-tested in the model. Underlying capex, opex and case studies and companies are profiled in subsequent tabs.

Biomass power and BECCS: the economics?

This data-file captures the economics of producing wood pellets, generating electricity from wood pellets or other biomass, and building a further carbon capture and storage facility to yield ‘carbon negative power’.

The data-file is substantiated by detailed industry on solid biomass fuels, historical capex costs from prior projects and detailed notes from half-a-dozen technical papers.

Data are also aggregated on the generation and efficiency of c340 woody-biomass power plants constructed to-date in the United States.

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2022.