Edward Rubin

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Edward Rubin is Professor of Department Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Promoting Carbon Capture and Storage

Like many other promoters of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Rubin argues that the as yet unproven technology "is the only way to get large (85-90%) CO2 reductions from fossil-fueled power plants, while we transition to a more sustainable energy economy." He also argues that "without CCS the cost of mitigating climate change will be much higher, especially as climate goals tighten".[1]

In a May 2010 presentation to the the Obama administration's Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage, he argued that "CCS will not be widely deployed and developed unless and until there is a market for such systems established by a strong policy driver that significantly limits CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants."[1]

Rubin proposed that a pathway forward would be to "develop and promulgate performance standards for new fossil fuel power plants that require some degree of CO2 capture for compliance" and that these standards should be revised periodically and then extended to "existing plants that are still operating after a specified period of time." He also proposed that it would be necessary to "provide additional incentives for capture technology innovation by establishing a market price on carbon that rewards 'over-compliance' by allowing excess emission reductions to be banked or sold."[1]

As for Barack Obama's stated "goal of bringing 5 to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016"[2] Rubin argued that "full-scale demonstrations are critical to achieving acceptance of CCS by both industry and the public".[1]

In his presentation Rubin stated that "while a number of important legal and regulatory issues must be resolved (related mainly to geological storage), I believe the largest impediment to bringing 5 to 10 full-scale technology demonstrations online by 2016 is a lack of adequate financing." However, "at a cost of roughly one billion dollars per project for a typical 400 MW power plant, current federal funding cannot guarantee 5-10 full-scale projects. Substantial industry cost sharing is needed, but not guaranteed."[1]

Rubin proposed that under the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative, the agency should "focus first on demonstrating the effectiveness, safety, and reliability of CCS technology at the scale typical of commercial power plants (>3 Mt CO /yr)". However, he argued that while "reducing the cost of CO2 capture will certainly be important for widespread deployment" that it should not be the focus of these initial full-scale demonstrations. Focus on performance."[1]

He also proposed that there would be a need to "secure $3-5 billion for additional full-scale power plant demonstration projects" and that these should be pulverized coal plants with carbon dioxide millions greater than 3 million tonnes a year and that one should be a natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plant.[1]

In the absence of a price on carbon, Rubin suggested that the taskforce should "consider ways to ameliorate concerns about regulatory and legal issues (such as long-term liability) for early commercial projects" and "a higher level of federal cost-sharing for full-scale demonstrations at coal-fired power plants." Another possible incentive would be to "consider financial incentives (e.g., $xx/ton) for CO2 captured and stored at a rate exceeding 2 MtCO2/yr".[1]


A biographical note states that Rubin's "research deals with technical, economic and policy issues related to energy and the environment, with a focus on reducing environmental impacts of electric power systems. One major product of this research is the Integrated Environmental Control Model (IECM)—a widely-used tool for engineering-economic design and analysis of current and advanced power generation systems, including pulverized coal combustion, integrated coal gasification combined cycle, and natural gas combined cycle systems. Current emphasis is on the modeling and assessment of CO2 capture and sequestration options for climate change mitigation, and the potential of advanced renewable energy systems."[3]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Edward Rubin, "Overcoming Barriers to Widespread CCS Deployment", Proceedings of the public meeting of Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage, Washington D.C., May 6, 2010.
  2. "Presidential Memorandum -- A Comprehensive Federal Strategy on Carbon Capture and Storage", Presidential Memoranda, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, February 3, 2010.
  3. "EPP Faculty: Edward S. Rubin", Carnegie Mellon University, accessed May 2010.

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

External articles

Papers and Presentations by Rubin

  • Rubin, E.S., S. Yeh, M. Antes, M. Berkenpas and J. Davison, "Use of Experience Curves to Estimate the Future Cost of Power Plants with CO2 Capture,” International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Vol. 1, p.188-197 (2007).
  • Rubin E.S., C. Chen and A.B. Rao, "Cost and Performance of Fossil Fuel Power Plants with CO2 Capture and Storage,” Energy Policy, Vol. 35, p.4444- 4454 (2007).
  • McCoy, S.T. and E. S. Rubin, "An Engineering-Economic Model of Pipeline Transport of CO2 with Application to Carbon Capture and Storage,” International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, Vol. 2, p. 219-229 (2008).
  • Rubin, E.S., "CO2 Capture and Transport,” Elements, Vol. 4, p. 311–317 (Oct 2008).
  • Chen, C. and E.S. Rubin "CO2 control technology effects on IGCC plant performance and cost,” Energy Policy, Vol. 37, p.915-924 (2009).
  • Rubin, E.S., A Performance Standards Approach to Reducing CO2 Emissions from Electric Power Plants, White Paper Series, Coal Initiatives Reports, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Arlington, VA, 27p (June 2009)
  • Van den Broek, M., R. Hoefnagels, E.S. Rubin, W. Turkenburg and A. Faaij, "Effects of technological learning on future cost and performance of power plants with CO2 capture", Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, Vol. 35, p.457-480 (2009)
  • Rubin, E.S., Power plant CO2 capture technologies: Risks and risk governance deficits, International Risk Governance Council, Geneva, 36p (December 2009)
  • Edward Rubin, "Overcoming Barriers to Widespread CCS Deployment", Proceedings of the public meeting of Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage, Washington D.C., May 6, 2010.