Adapting the Technology Performance Level Integrated Assessment Framework to Low-TRL Technologies Within the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Industry, Part I

Nicole Mendoza, Thomas Mathai, Blake Boren, Jesse Roberts, James Niffenegger, Volker Sick, Arno Zimmermann, Jochem Weber, Joshua Schaidle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


With the urgent need to mitigate climate change and rising global temperatures, technological solutions that reduce atmospheric CO2 are an increasingly important part of the global solution. As a result, the nascent carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) industry is rapidly growing with a plethora of new technologies in many different sectors. There is a need to holistically evaluate these new technologies in a standardized and consistent manner to determine which technologies will be the most successful and competitive in the global marketplace to achieve decarbonization targets. Life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic assessment (TEA) have been employed as rigorous methodologies for quantitatively measuring a technology's environmental impacts and techno-economic performance, respectively. However, these metrics evaluate a technology's performance in only three dimensions and do not directly incorporate stakeholder needs and values. In addition, technology developers frequently encounter trade-offs during design that increase one metric at the expense of the other. The technology performance level (TPL) combined indicator provides a comprehensive and holistic assessment of an emerging technology's potential, which is described by its techno-economic performance, environmental impacts, social impacts, safety considerations, market/deployability opportunities, use integration impacts, and general risks. TPL incorporates TEA and LCA outputs and quantifies the trade-offs between them directly using stakeholder feedback and requirements. In this article, the TPL methodology is being adapted from the marine energy domain to the CCUS domain. Adapted metrics and definitions, a stakeholder analysis, and a detailed foundation-based application of the systems engineering approach to CCUS are presented. The TPL assessment framework is couched within the internationally standardized LCA framework to improve technical rigor and acceptance. It is demonstrated how stakeholder needs and values can be directly incorporated, how LCA and TEA metrics can be balanced, and how other dimensions (listed earlier) can be integrated into a single metric that measures a technology's potential.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number818786
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Climate
StatePublished - 18 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Mendoza, Mathai, Boren, Roberts, Niffenegger, Sick, Zimmermann, Weber and Schaidle.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-81638


  • carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS)
  • combined indicator
  • integrated assessment (IA)
  • life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • techno-economic analysis (TEA)
  • technology assessment framework (TAF)
  • technology development trajectory
  • technology performance level (TPL)


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