Generating Emissions Inventory for Carbon Capture and Storage Analysis for Carbon-Intensive Industrial Sectors

Research output: NRELPresentation


Decarbonizing the industrial sector is critical to achieve carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions goals of the Biden Administration. Currently available decarbonization options include electrification, fuel switching to zero carbon fuels like green hydrogen (H2) and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Application of post-combustion carbon capture (PCCC) technology in the power sector, as well as research at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) Office has shown that its application in the industrial sector could have co-benefits in the form of emissions reductions of non-CO2 regulated pollutants. For example, solvent based PCCC systems require pre-conditioning of flue gas to remove sulfur and particulate matter (PM) upstream of the CO2 absorber. However, there is a lack of understanding about the type of non-CO2 pollutants which can be captured and the amount of reduction possible. PCCC application differs across industrial sectors as it depends on the availability of decarbonization options, characteristics of industrial processes and the amount and composition of pollutant flows. Certain facilities can also have multiple effluent flows with or without a CO2 stream. As such, understanding industrial processes and their effluent flows in detail is required to quantify the co-benefits opportunities presented by PCCC. Considering this requirement, the goal of this analysis is to develop a high-resolution inventory of effluent flows from facilities of 8 industrial sectors in the U.S. These industrial sectors - ethanol, ammonia, cement, steel, natural gas processing, hydrogen, petroleum refining and wood and pulp products - have carbon-intensive effluent flows, and thus are prime candidates for PCCC applications. In this study, we map the composition of pollutant flow from flue stacks across the identified facilities. Using data available in three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) databases - the Green House Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), we create a combined inventory which lists the type, amount, and concentration of pollutant flows. Using total weight of the pollutant flow back calculated from observed data for CO2 concentrations in flue gas for individual sectors, we calculate the concentration of each pollutant in the flue gas stream. Thus, the resultant emissions inventory includes the following details for each facility in the sector: facility-level and if possible, process-level pollutant flows, concentrations of pollutants in the flue gas, and geographical coordinates of the facilities. A detailed statistical analysis and summary allows us to search for erroneous data and remove them from the final inventory. The generation of the inventory is achieved using a python-based framework which can recreate this inventory for other industrial sectors as well as using newer releases of emission inventories from EPA. The statistical analysis performed on the inventory is also calibrated and automated to identify outliers efficiently.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the 30th International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) Conference, 12-15 June 2023, Fort Collins, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-86511


  • air pollutants
  • carbon capture
  • emissions inventory
  • industrial emissions


Dive into the research topics of 'Generating Emissions Inventory for Carbon Capture and Storage Analysis for Carbon-Intensive Industrial Sectors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this