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Ascent Project
5 - Safety and sustainability impact assessment

The main gaps in terms of safety for the different technology lines will be identified in this work package and recommendations will be outlined for the safe deployment and operation of these technology lines. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Socio-Economic Assessment (SEA) of the investigated technologies are analysed in order to identify potential gaps that would be needed to facilitate the large scale implementation of these technology lines in the future.

This work package has been conceived as composed of (i) safety and risk assessment, (ii) Environmental LCA, (iii) Socio Economic analysis.

 Safety and risk assessment – The safety comparison studies were completed for ASCENT technologies identified for the risk assessment in CaCu, SER and CSHIFT. for having a global picture of all the technologies. The results highlighted the advantages and safety gains of the ASCENT technologies when compared to the reference technologies

Environmental LCA – The results of the risk analysis highlighted the main accident scenarios that may be encountered with the ASCENT technologies. The different causes and consequences were identified outlining the main recommendations in terms of mitigation measures and organizational practices. The evolutive side of the regulations applicable to ASCENT technologies must be monitored particularly for the regulation for nanomaterial / nanostructured material as of today. Most of the regulations are widely applied to power plants, chemical and petroleum industry. The relevance of current regulations for ASCENT development in terms of environmental and occupational safety has been summarized. This can serve as a checklist and should be considered for a future deployment of the ASCENT technologies.

  • The detailed analysis of the LCA results for the identified indicators (Climate change, Resources depletion, Water withdrawal as well as Human health & Ecosystem quality) has been performed at both the mid-point and end-point levels, following the recommendations of the International Reference Life Cycle Data (ILCD) Handbook, with a special focus on the sorbents/catalysts. The main contributors, key parameters and points of attention in the development and usage of the novel carbon capture technologies have been identified and highlighted;
  • The End-Of-Life of catalysts and has been included and considered for both ASCENT as well as reference technologies, based on primary information when available, inputs from the other WPs, experts’ knowledge and literature.

Socio-economic analysis – The results of this Analysis highlighted the advantages of the ASCENT technologies when compared to the reference technologies. Impacts on health and the environment have been characterized for each plant configuration in the ASCENT life cycle assessment. Non-monetary impacts related to global warming, health and ecosystems are further considered in the cost-benefit analysis. Valuation methods have been used for giving a value to those impacts, translating them into costs and benefits. They are based on estimates of the social cost of carbon, the value of life year, and restoration costs of ecosystems. Two indicators have been used for benchmarking plant configurations:

  • the health and environmental (H&E) costs per MWh produced which represents the costs borne by health and environmental impacts generated by plant production.;
  • the health and environmental Net Present Value per MWh produced which measures the social benefit brought by a technology. It is a new indicator modifying the Net Present Value (NPV), a common economic indicator, for integrating contribution of environmental economics.

For further information visit the newsletter section.

environmental impact categories additional LCA indicators

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme  FP7 under grant agreement n° 608512