Register with us today

and in less than 60 seconds continue your access to:Latest news headlinesAnalytical topics and featuresCommodities videos, podcast & blogsSample market prices & dataSpecial reportsSubscriber notes & daily commodity email alerts

Already have an account?

Log in to register

Forgot Password

Please Note: Platts Market Center subscribers can only reset passwords via the Platts Market Center

Enter your Email ID below and we will send you an email with your password.

  • Email Address* Please enter email address.

If you are a premium subscriber, we are unable to send you your password for security reasons. Please contact the Client Services team.

If you are a Platts Market Center subscriber, to reset your password go to the Platts Market Center to reset your password.

In this list

Coal-fired plants could see water shortages if they add carbon capture technology: study

Commodities | Electricity | Energy | Coal | Emissions | Electric Power | Emissions | Natural Gas | Oil | Crude Oil | Refined Products | Petrochemicals | Polymers | Shipping | Coronavirus

Market Movers Europe, Aug 3-7: Will oil demand mirror OPEC+ supply? German coal phase-out starts


Platts Global Coal Alert

Capital Markets | Commodities | Electric Power | Natural Gas

Mexican Energy Conference, 24th

Coal | Emissions | Electric Power | Metals

Global passenger EV sales forecast to reach 6.2 million units by 2024: MI

Coal-fired plants could see water shortages if they add carbon capture technology: study


'Twin costs of mitigating climate change and competing for water resources are vexing'

CCS still considered viable pathway to eliminate CO2 emissions

Arlington, Virginia — Installing carbon capture and sequestration technology at existing large coal-fired power plants around the world could leave many of them short of water at least for part of the year, a new scientific study has found.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

Around 43%, or 830 GW, of the nearly 1,100 coal-fired plants examined in the study would experience water scarcity for at least one month per year if they were retrofitted with carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS, scientists from the University of California Berkeley said in a May 4 article published in the journal Nature Sustainability. The scientists also found that 32%, 625 GW, of those plants could see water shortages for five months or longer if they installed CCS technology.

Scientists and companies that have set emissions-reduction targets have said that CCS will be a key part of tackling climate change, particularly to achieve global net-zero emissions by around 2050.

The new scientific article asserted that "the twin costs of mitigating climate change and competing for water resources are vexing factors in managing energy systems." The scientists recommend that "the water requirements of CCS technologies should be taken into account when evaluating future CCS scenarios because it is crucial to mitigate emissions from the energy sector without compromising on the sustainable use of water resources."

CCS would increase water usage at coal-fired power plants in two ways, the UC Berkeley scientists wrote. First, CCS itself imposes parasitic power demands on existing plants, which inherently increases the amount of water the plant consumes and reduces the plant's efficiency. Second, the CCS process requires additional water. For example, the one proven and commercially available technology that achieves carbon absorption with amine solvents would nearly double a coal-fired plant's water combustion intensity.


Of the plants that could face water risk for at least five months of the year, the study said 56% are in China, 15% in India and 11% in the US. Coal plants that would not face water scarcity year-round are located in the Great Lakes region of the US, in Europe, Russia, and southern China. In addition, plants located along ocean coastlines where they could opt to use seawater as a cooling medium but do not currently would not be affected.

During a May 6 webinar hosted by the United States Energy Association, Fred Eames, an energy lobbyist and partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth, talked about the study. He also suggested that any time a new or retrofitted project is expected to use more water, particularly in the drought-prone areas of the Western US, the issue of water resource allocation will always have to be addressed.

To eliminate the possibility of including plants in the study that are older and likely to be retired rather than retrofitted with CCS, the scientists assessed the potential monthly water withdrawals and consumption levels associated with adding CCS to the 1,093 coal plants globally that have a capacity of 100 MW or more and began operating after 2000. The modeling was based on the long-term monthly average available water from 2011 through 2015 and also accounted for annual variability in water resources.

The scientists noted that water consumption can vary by up to 20% among coal plants depending on coal type, combustion technology, plant size and efficiency, and existing environmental control systems.