Decarbonisation Technology - February 2023

The techno-economic metrics of carbon utilisation – Part 2

Explaining the technological and economical parameters of carbon utilisation and how these vary widely depending on external as well as technology-specific variables

Joris Mertens, Mark Krawec and Ritik Attwal KBC (a Yokogawa company)

C urrently, there is a common misconception that carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) means carbon storage (CS) rather than carbon utilisation (CU). The confusion between storage and utilisation is understandable since they both help reduce carbon emissions. The difference between storage and utilisation is that storage involves disposing of waste, whereas utilisation involves efficient use of resources. Since utilisation is more expensive than storage, some utilisation technologies need further development, which explains the current focus on storage. To help curb carbon emissions, NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) entrusted Yokogawa, a leading provider of industrial automation and test and measurement solutions, to perform a strategic decarbonisation study of the Goi industrial area in the Chiba Prefecture at Tokyo Bay, opposite the capital (Yokogawa, 2021). KBC carried out the research related to carbon utilisation for Yokogawa. This research aims to make the industrial area net carbon neutral by 2050, preferably using carbon utilisation rather than storage. KBC conducted a techno-economic evaluation of the nine carbon utilisation technologies. These technologies and feeds, other than CO 2 , are listed in Table 1 , an abridged version of Table 1 from Part 1. Part 1 of this two-part article assessed how key variables such as hydrogen requirements, CO 2 utilisation, and product price affect operating costs (KBC, 2022). Table 2 shows hypothetical price scenarios for

# Name

Main product

Non CO 2 feeds

1 Methanation 2 Methanol 3 Fischer-Tropsch 4 Oxo synthesis 5 Carbonation

Methane Methanol

H 2 H 2 H 2

Syncrude / SAF


Propylene, H 2 Steel slag

Building material Mixed xylenes

6 Xylenes

H 2

7 Urea


Ammonia (NH 3 ) Propylene oxide

8 Polyols


carbonate polyol Polypropylene carbonate (PPC)


9 Polymeric




Table 1 Carbon utilisation technologies

green hydrogen and CO 2 utilisation in 2030 and 2050. Whereas the 2030 scenario assumes a high price for green hydrogen and a low price for CO 2 utilisation, the 2050 scenario speculates a much lower price for green hydrogen and a much higher price for CO 2 . The primary purpose of this comparison is to demonstrate the sensitivity of the carbon utilisation economics with carbon and green hydrogen pricing. Price estimates for the 2030 and 2050 scenarios have been established with a more rigorous market analysis for the other feeds (propylene, propylene oxide, slag) and the carbon utilisation products. For most feed and product pricing, KBC relied on third- party market intelligence supplied by Argus Media. The investigation concluded that making hydrogen-intensive carbon utilisation technologies available in a scenario depicting high-priced green hydrogen must impose


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