Potential Costs and Savings
So what does a system like this cost? The initial build of a system like this could add anywhere from 25 to 91 percent to the cost of a new coal power plant. Retrofitting an old plant may run anywhere from 45 to 120 percent. This process will also take some of the energy generated by the power plant, some estimates put this power cost at up to 15 percent of the total produced energy. This would mean higher rates for consumers UNLESS the resulting biomass from the algae screens is converted into fuel. This process could actually lower the cost of fuel.
If we compare this type of plant with a buried pressurized sequestration unit with current estimates liberally set at $100 per ton (averaging .6 tons per Megawatt hour of generated power), then a 3000 MW plant would incur costs of $180,000 a day whereas a comparable algae unit would cost $68,500 per day (based on ten years of operation, the longer the plant runs the lower the cost per day would be), almost 2/3 less.
While limiting the use of fossil fuels by harvesting solar energy, wind power, and even geothermal heat promises to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, still over 86.4% of them are used for energy, producing over 21.3 billion of carbon dioxide emissions per year. With that much CO2 released into the atmosphere every year, the cost of a carbon capture service plant shouldn’t even be a factor.