China’s steel sector, contributing 40% of world steel production, are moving the plants out of highly-populated areas in China. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an important technology to achieve a deep reduction of emissions in steel plants. Given by high cost and lack of policy incentive in deploying the CCS process, there has been a lack of progress in CCS within the steel sector in China. Capture readiness is a design concept to ease future CCS retrofit and avoid the carbon lock-in effect in steel plants. Capture Readiness design requires moderate upfront investment, i.e. less than 0.5% additional capital expenditure, but could easily enable the plant to be retrofitted with CCS technologies in their lifetime. The paper develops a novel linear programming model to assess the economic cost of Capture Readiness design in a generic steel plant in China. The Baowu Steel Zhanjiang project was used as a reference plant to develop the generic steel plant for the model. Through a Monte Carlo simulation, the results show that the economic cost of making new steel plants in capture readiness for 0.5 million tonnes capture is CNY 65 million (USD 9.5 million) in a conservative 5% carbon price growth rate scenario. The paper found the value of flexibility brought by capture readiness design is significant and is equal to approximately 15% of initial capital investment. The economically viable chance of retrofitting steel plants with CCS technologies in the lifetime is 49%. In an uncertainty analysis, for a 6% growth rate of carbon price, the option value could be increased to CNY 145 million while the probability of retrofit increases to 79%. China’s CCS policy should consider a requirement for newly built steel plants to adopt capture readiness design to capture the significant economic value and ease emissions reduction in the iron and steel sector in the long term.
- Capture readiness
- Real option