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Same or different? Insights on public perception and acceptance of carbon capture and storage or utilization in Germany

Arning, K., Offermann-van Heek, J., Linzenich, A., Kaetelhoen, A., Sternberg, A., Bardow, A., Ziefle, M.
Energy policy 2019 v.125 pp. 235-249
carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, climate change, early development, feedstocks, fuels, public opinion, risk perception, Germany, United States
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) are two CO2-based technologies aiming at mitigating climate change by capturing and either permanently storing CO2 (CCS) or using it as a feedstock (CCU) for commercial products, e.g., chemicals, fuels, or plastic products. Whereas the implementation of CCS has attracted considerable public opposition in Europe and the US, the CCU-technology is still in an early development stage. This research takes a social science perspective and investigates the awareness, general perception and acceptance of CCS in comparison to CCU by applying an online survey in Germany (2017, n = 509). In addition, the risk perception of single steps in the CCU/CCS process chains was explored (CCS: CO2-capturing, CO2-transport, CO2-storage; CCU: CO2-capturing, CO2-transport, temporary CO2-storage, production, product usage, product disposal). Significant differences were found for the perception and acceptance of CCS and CCU: while both technologies were generally accepted, CCU was perceived significantly more positively than CCS. CCS-acceptance was negatively influenced by storage and transport risks; for CCU, disposal and product risks decreased acceptance. Our results contribute to the development of communication concepts for a successful implementation of CO2-based technologies by considering public concerns.