Technology readiness level (TRL)

Throughout this chapter the term Technology Readiness Level (TRL) will be used to indicate the development level of the technologies described. The following outline of the TRL concept has been mostly taken from the Global CCS Institute Report #4 of the Strategic Analysis Series.

This TRL approach can be particularly useful in tracking the status of individual technologies throughout the stages of the R&D timeline. The nine TRLs are listed in Table 1-1.

The achievement of a given TRL will inform process developers and organizations of the resources required to achieve the next level of readiness. An achievement of TRL-9 indicates that the first successful operation at normal commercial scale has been achieved and that the technology can be deployed with risks that are comparable to those undertaken on other commercial technologies. Progressively higher technical and financial risks are required to achieve the TRLs up to and including TRL-9.

Table 1-1 The nine technical readiness levels

TRL-9 Full-Scale Commercial Deployment
TRL-8 Sub-Scale Commercial Demonstration Plant (>25% commercial scale)
TRL-7 Pilot Plant (>5% commercial scale)
TRL-6 Component Prototype Demonstration (0.1–5% of full scale)
TRL-5 Component Prototype Development
TRL-4 Laboratory Component Testing
TRL-3 Analytical, ‘Proof of Concept’
TRL-2 Application Formulated
TRL-1 Basic Principles Observed

More detailed information on the background justification for the TRL rankings in this document are included and discussed in the separate sections of this document that cover each of the three major capture pathways.

While the actual TRL levels of technologies and sectors have not changed since 2009 there has been significant progress towards higher TRL in most areas.