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Scaling and Cost Dynamics of Pollution Control Technologies: Some Historical Examples

By S. Healey


The past forty years have seen significant diffusion of end-of-pipe pollution control devices as numerous developed countries have sought to reduce local air pollutants from coal-fired power. The apparent success of these technologies have led to the hope that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - an end-of pipe technology for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide - could play a similar role in helping humanity achieve its climate targets. Consequently, a scaling analysis of various pollution control technologies, which describes their rates and extents of growth at both the unit and the total market levels, is used as a historical analogue for CCS' potential in contributing to significant emissions reductions. This scaling analysis also provides corroboration of models predictions of CCS diffusion under climate policy, and also situates pollution control technologies within the existing scaling analysis literature for energy technologies. In addition, the cost dynamics of Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) is explored using regression analysis. It is hoped that this costing analysis will provide some insight into the likely future drivers of CCS costs, including a provisional learning rate for CCS

Publisher: IR-13-008
Year: 2013
OAI identifier:

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