The Need for and Path to Harmonized Life Cycle Assessment and Techno-Economic Assessment for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Utilization

Joshua Schaidle, Ling Tao, Volker Sick, Katy Armstrong, Gregory Cooney, Lorenzo Cremonese, Alexandra Eggleston, Grant Faber, Gregory Hackett, Arne Katelhon, Greg Keoleian, John Marano, Joseph Marriott, Stephen McCord, Shelie Miller, Michele Mutchek, Barbara Olfe-Krautlein, Dwarakanath Ravikumar, Louise Roper, Timothy SkoneLorraine Smith, Till Strunge, Peter Styring, Simon Volker, Arno Zimmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus Citations


The use of carbon dioxide as a feedstock for a broad range of products can help mitigate the effects of climate change through long-term removal of carbon or as part of a circular carbon economy. Research on capture and conversion technologies has intensified in recent years, and the interest in deploying these technologies is growing fast. However, sound understanding of the environmental and economic impacts of these technologies is required to drive fast deployment and avoid unintended consequences. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) and techno-economic assessments (TEAs) are useful tools to quantify environmental and economic metrics; however, these tools can be very flexible in how they are applied, with the potential to produce significantly different results depending on how the boundaries and assumptions are defined. Built on ISO standards for generic LCAs, several guidance documents have emerged recently from the Global CO2 Initiative, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that further define assessment specifications for carbon capture and utilization. Overall agreement in the approaches is noted with differences largely based on the intended use cases. However, further guidance is needed for assessments of early-stage technologies, reporting details, and reporting for policymakers and nontechnical decision-makers.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1901034
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-74888


  • carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage
  • carbon recycling
  • greenhouse gas mitigations
  • life cycle assessments
  • techno-economic assessments


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