Getting Ready for Carbon Capture and Storage by Issuing Capture Options

Xi Liang, D. Reiner, Jon Gibbins, Jia Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A capture option is an option contract where the option holder can exercise a contract to retrofit an existing fossil fuel plant to capture carbon dioxide (rm CO2) on or before a fixed date. We suggest that new thermal power plants, particularly those in developing countries, consider issuing capture options at the design stage, because the sellers—the owners of newly built thermal power plants—may then invest in making these plants rm CO2 capture ready (CCR) to optimise returns from selling capture options. In a detailed case study on a 600 MW ultrasupercritical pulverised coal-fired power unit a potential storage site in Guangdong, China, the value of a capture option and CCR investment is evaluated using the backward deduction option pricing method through a stochastic cash flow model with Monte-Carlo simulations. If the power plant is retrofittable without CCR investment, then for an 8% discount rate the value of a capture option is US 11 million before CCR investment. Investing US 3.8 million in CCR increases the value of the capture option by an estimated US 12 million. Perhaps more important from a policy point of view, CCR investment can reduce the odds of early closure by 20% and also increase the chance of retrofitting to capture by 43%. If the power plant is not retrofittable in the absence of CCR design modifications, CCR investment to avoid ‘carbon lock-in’ is not only important for climate policy but is also economic from an investment point of view. We also conduct sensitivity analyses on a range of key assumptions to test the robustness of the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1286-1307
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • capture option
  • co2 capture
  • capture ready
  • real option
  • china
  • coal
  • ccs ready
  • carbon lock-in


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