LCA methodology application to assess the environmental impact of CCS and CCU: a review

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This article is a literature review on the state of the art of LCA (life cycle assessment) methodology application to study the environmental impact of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and CCU (carbon capture and use), regarded as two promising solutions to limit CO2-emissions to the atmosphere from powerplants. In order to avoid burden shifting, CCS and CCU options have been examined and compared not only in terms of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions, but also considering many other environmental impacts, and considering the whole life cycle of each application from raw materials extraction up to the end of life. The effect of different possible technologies for carbon capture is discussed too. At the end, a comparison between the main environmental impacts of CCS and different CCU options is provided, including the general considerations that can be drawn and that should guide future research on the topic. The big uncertainty that is still present in the available data, due to a lack of uniformity in the methodology followed in different LCAs, is underlined as the greatest limitation.

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