Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Cross-cutting paper, carbon capture and storage and renewable energy technologies (Bob van der Zwaan)

Today overwhelming evidence exists that mankind is modifying the Earth s environment and is provoking an increase of the average global atmospheric temperature and the associated detrimental effects of regional and local climate change (IPCC, 2001). In order to minimize the risks induced by substantial climate change (UNFCCC, 1992), carbon dioxide concentrations should be stabilized, preferably during the 21st century and probably at a level not exceeding much more than twice the pre-industrial level (IPCC, 1996). There-fore, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced substantially below the levels that would be implied by a ¿business-as-usual¿ scenario.

This challenge, however large, can be met. Many different measures must be exploited simultaneously to realize it, among which decreasing the levels of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy use. Whatever means may contribute to alleviating the global warming problem, a (partial) decarbonisation of energy use seems a necessity. For de-creasing the carbon intensity of energy consumption, no panacea exists. Hence, all non-carbon emitting options should probably, for the moment at least, remain part of an energy mix as diversified as possible. Therefore, expanding the decarbonisation of fossil fuels to options beyond a transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuels (coal and oil) to carbon-poor ones (natural gas) is currently receiving enhanced attention.

This paper briefly describes some aspects of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, since it has relatively recently entered the scene as promising option to reduce car-bon dioxide emissions, and is at present receiving increasing attention by scientists and policy makers the like. Some of the eleven models of the TranSust project include CCS, as well as renewable technologies, to investigate their potential long-term significance in energy and climate change scenarios. This paper provides a comparison, on the basis of the answers given to questions posed in a questionnaire distributed among the TranSust project members, of how some of the TranSust models simulate CCS and renewable energy technologies.

Conclusions and recommendations are given for future model development regarding CCS and renewables. The first major conclusion is that so far only few of the eleven TranSust models include CCS or renewable energy technologies. In view of the ongoing TranSust work on expanding the sustainability features of existing economy-environment-energy models, it is recommended to adapt those models that do not include CCS and renewables to account for these technologies. But also for the few TranSust models that incorporate already CCS and renewables, further research is needed in terms of the refinement and improvement of their simulation of these technologies. An example in case is that today insufficient attention is being paid to possible external environmental effects of carbon storage. Ideally, it should be attempted to include such impacts in the present generation of integrated assessment models.

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