Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage

Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage ( BECCS ) is a future greenhouse gas mitigation technology that produces carbon dioxide emissions by combining bioenergy (energy from biomass ) and geologic carbon capture and storage . [1] The concept of BECCS is drawn from the integration of trees and crops, which extract carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the atmosphere as they grow, the use of this biomass in processing industries or power plants, and the application of carbon capture and storage via CO 2 injection into geological formations. [2]There are other forms of non-BECCS carbon dioxide removal and storage technologies include That Such As biochar , carbon dioxide air capture and biomass burial . [3]

According to a recent Biorecro report, there is 550,000 tonnes CO 2 / year in total BECCS capacity currently operating, divided between three different facilities (as of January 2012). [2] [4] [5] [6] [7]

In the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), BECCS was identified as a key technology for low carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration targets. [8] The negative emissions that can be produced by the Royal Society to be equivalent to a 50 to 150 ppm decrease in global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations [9] and according to the International Energy Agency , the BLUE map climate change mitigation scenario calls for more than 2 giga tons of negative CO 2Emissions per year with BECCS in 2050. [10] According To Stanford University , 10 giga tons is achievable by this date. [11]

The Imperial College London , the UK Met Office Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research , the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research , the Walker Institute for Climate System Research , and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change Issued a joint report on carbon dioxide removal as technologies Part of the AVOID: The importance of climate change in the study of climate change . The presence of a primary product will support early deployment. ” [12]

According to the OECD , “Achieving lower concentration targets (450 ppm) depends significantly on the use of BECCS”. [13]

Negative emission

See also: Carbon sink and Negative carbon dioxide emission
Carbon flow schematic for different energy systems.

The main appeal of BECCS is in its ability to result in negative emissions of CO 2 . The capture of carbon dioxide from bioenergy sources effectively removes CO 2 from the atmosphere. [14]

Bio-energy is derived from biomass which is a renewable energy source and serves as a carbon sink during its growth. During industrial processes, the biomass combusted or processed re-releases the CO 2 into the atmosphere. The process thus results in a net emission of CO 2 , although it may be positively or negatively altered depending on the carbon emissions associated with biomass growth, transport and processing, see below under environmental considerations. [15] Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology serves to intercept the release of CO 2 into the atmosphere and redirect it into geological storage locations. [16] CO 2with a biomass origin is not only released from biomass fueled power plants, goal aussi During the manufacture of pulp used to make paper and in the manufacture of biofuels Such As biogas and bioethanol . The BECCS technology can also be used on such industrial processes. [17]

It is argued that the BECCS technology, carbon dioxide is trapped in geologic formations for very long periods of time. In its report on the CCS technology, IPCC projects that more than 99% of carbon dioxide which is stored through geologic sequestration is likely to stay in place for more than 1000 years. While other types of carbon sinks such as the ocean, BECCS technology is likely to provide a better permanence by storing CO 2 in geological formations. [2] [18]

The amount of CO 2 is in the form of a fixed rate, which is [19] In addition to the presently accumulated emissions, there will be significant additional emissions during this century, even in the most ambitious low-emission scenarios. BECCS has therefore been suggested as a technology to reverse the emission and create a global system of net negative emissions. [1] [8] [19] [20] [21] This implies that the emissions would not be zero, but negative, so that not only emissions, but the absolute amount of CO 2 in the atmosphere would be reduced.

Projected cost [20] to reach the respective 350ppm and 450ppm target scenarios by 2100. 265ppm indicates the pre-industrial atmospheric CO 2 level. [22]


Source CO 2 Source Sector
Electrical power plants Combustion of biomass or biofuel in steam or gas powered generators CO 2 as a by-product Energy
Heat power plants Combustion of biofuel for heat generation CO 2 as a by-product. Usually used for district heating Energy
Pulp and paper mills
  • CO 2 produced in recovery boilers
  • CO 2 produced in kilns
  • For gasification technologies , CO 2 is produced during the gasification of black liquor and biomass as the tree bark and woody.
  • Huge amounts of CO 2 are also released by the combustion of syngas , a product of gasification, in the combined cycle process .
Ethanol production Fermentation of biomass such as sugarcane, wheat or corn CO 2 as a by-product Industry
Biogas production In the biogas upgrading process , CO 2 is separated from the methane to produce a higher quality gas Industry


Main article: Carbon capture and storage

The main technology for CO 2 capture from biotic sources generally employs the same technology as carbon dioxide capture from the fossil fuel sources. Broadly, three different types of technologies exist: post-combustion , pre-combustion , and oxy-fuel combustion . [23]


The sustainable technical potential for net negative emissions has been estimated at 10 Gt of CO 2 equivalent annually, with an economic potential of up to 3.5 Gt of CO 2 equivalent annually at a cost of less than 50 € / tonne, and up to 3.9 Gt of CO 2 equivalent annually at a cost of less than 100 € / ton. [24]

Currently, most schematic BECCS systems are not cost-effective compared to normal CCS. The IPCC states that estimates for BECCS cost range from $ 60- $ 250 per ton of CO 2 . [25] On the other hand, “normal” CCS has been less than $ 35 per ton. [26] With limited large-scale testing, BECCS faces many challenges to be financially viable alternatives.


Based on the current Kyoto Protocol agreement, carbon capture and storage projects are not applicable as an Emission Reduction tool to be used for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or for Joint Implementation (JI) projects. [27] Recognizing CCS technologies as an emission reduction tool for the implementation of such plants. There has been growing support for fossil CCS and BECCS included in the protocol. Accounting studies on how this can be implemented, including BECCS, have also been done. [28]

Techno-economics of BECCS and the TESBiC Project

The largest and most detailed techno-economic assessment of BECCS was conducted in 2012 by the TESBiC [29] group (Techno-Economic Study of Biomass to CCS). coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS). The project outcomes lead to a detailed “CCS roadmap biomass” for the UK.

Environmental considerations

See also: Issues relating to biofuels

Some of the environmental considerations and other concerns of the widespread implementation of BECCS are similar to those of CCS. However, much of the criticism towards CCS is that it can be depleted fossil fuels and environmentally invasive coal mining. This is not the case with BECCS, as it relates to renewable biomass. BECCS and these concerns are related to the possible use of biofuels .

Biomass production is a subject of a range of sustainable constraints, such as: scarcity of arable land and fresh water, loss of biodiversity, competition with food production, deforestation and scarcity of phosphorus. [30] It is important to make sure that biomass is used in a way that maximizes both energy and climate benefits. BECCS deployment scenarios, where there would be a very heavy reliance on increased biomass input. [31]

Large areas of land would be required to operate BECCS on an industrial scale. To remove 10 trillion tons of CO 2 , upwards of 300 million acres of land area (larger than India) would be required. [25] As a result, BECCS risks using land that could be better suited to agriculture and food production, especially in developing countries.

These systems may have other negative side effects. There is however no need to expand the use of biofuels in energy or industry applications to allow for BECCS deployment. There is already a considerable amount of emissions from point sources of biomass derived CO 2 , which could be used for BECCS. Though possible future bio-energy system upscaling scenarios, this may be an important consideration.

The BECCS process allows CO 2 to be collected and stored directly from the atmosphere, rather than from a fossil source. This implies that any eventual emissions from storage can be recollected and restored simply by reiterating the BECCS-process. This is not feasible with CCS alone, as CO 2 Emitted to the atmosphere can not be restored by burning more fossil fuel with CCS.

Current Projects

Most CCS projects include adding capture to an existing power plant, usually coal or another fossil fuel. [32] With complete capture, these processes would be carbon neutral. Decatur, Illinois in the United States has many corn plants run by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), where corn is processed into syrups and ethanol. [32] The plant emits high amounts of carbon dioxide as a byproduct of the process. With the CCS fitting, the plant is ideally carbon negative, since it absorbs carbon dioxide when it grows, and all carbon dioxide is produced during processing and is sequestered in Mount Simon sandstone. [32]The project can not be completely carbon negative, as carbon dioxide is produced during the combustion of ethanol that is being produced. The project is one of the only CCS projects in EOR . The Southern Illinois Basin is considered one of the best injection sites, and its sandstone composition and depth (2000 to 2000 meters below the surface), [33] as well as its possible capacity (27-109 Gt carbon dioxide). [34]

See also

  • biosequestration
  • Carbon dioxide removal
  • Carbon negative
  • Climate change mitigation scenarios
  • Climate engineering
  • List of emerging technologies
  • Low-carbon economy
  • United Nations Environment Program
  • Virgin Earth Challenge


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