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Air Pollutant Reductions From Carbon Capture

December 1, 2023 Category: Industry, Technology Work Area: Carbon Capture

This report provides a rigorous engineering analysis of the air quality impacts of integrating carbon capture technology on two hard-to-decarbonize industrial processes and finds a significant reduction in health-harming air pollutants along with reductions in carbon pollution.

The analysis in the report involved modeling the impacts on carbon dioxide (CO2) and criteria air pollutant emissions if carbon capture equipment were installed on the main pollution sources at four relatively high-emitting existing facilities in California and Texas: two fluidized catalytic crackers at petroleum refineries and two cement manufacturing plants. 

The report’s key findings are that: 

  • Adding carbon capture could reduce CO2 emissions and soot (particulate matter) by close to 90% while Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions would be nearly eliminated (99% reduction) from the largest point sources at these facilities.  
  • The potential climate and public health benefits achievable through the installation of carbon capture at these facilities are well in excess of the costs of such equipment. 
  • Applying carbon capture to other cement plants, catalytic cracking units and other industrial facilities is expected to lower health-harming sulfur dioxide and particulate matter pollution, although the magnitude of reduction will depend on the cleanliness of a facility before the addition of carbon capture.