Bio Energy with Carbon Capturing and Storage (BECCS)

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22 Apr 2008, Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK --- Willow being grown as a biofuel crop next to Steven's Croft Biomass Power Station in Lockerbie, Scotland.The E.ON power station is fueled 100% by wood sourced from local woodlands and generates enough electricity to supply 70,000 houses. The plant is carbon neutral --- Image by © Ashley Cooper/Corbis

*image source: https://www.carbonbrief.org/

 

Biomass-based energy generation offers an opportunity for responding the problem of energy sustainability and global warming. First, biomass has relatively short life-cycle compared to fossil fuel so that the productivity is technically expandable. The potential contribution of bioenergy that is currently 45-55 EJ/year (2004) may be increased to the 200-400 EJ/year up to 2050 (International Energy Agency Bioenergy, 2007). The second feature is Carbon neutrality. Biomass is considered to be net CO2 emission free since the entire carbon precursor in biomass was assimilated from atmospheric CO2 during its growth via photosynthesis. The use of biomass is expected to cut emissions by 80 to 90% compared to the fossil energy baseline scenario (IPCC, 2011).

Considering the carbon neutrality, bioenergy can go further to carbon-negative by reducing the release of carbon emission from conversion process to the atmosphere, shown in the following figure:

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Figure the concept of Bio Energy with Carbon Capturing and Storage (BECCS)

(Global Status of BECCS Projects, 2010)

 

This concept can be realized by integrating the carbon capture and storage (CCS) process to the biomass conversion system, so called bioenergy with carbon capturing and storage (BECCS). This option offers a unique opportunity for the net removal of atmospheric CO2 while at the same time as fulfilling energy requirements. The negative CO2 emissions that result from BECCS operations have four main implications (Global Status of BECCS Projects, 2010):

  1. BECCS can mitigate emissions from any CO2 emission source so that it can be used to abate the emissions that are difficult and expensive to cut back on, such as CO2 from transportation sector or small scale emissions.
  2. BECCS can abate the emissions which have already occurred in the past.
  3. BECCS can be used as a climate mitigation risk management tool, which may be needed due to the uncertainties of climate scenario modeling as well as uncertainties related to the long-term efficiency of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation policies.
  4. BECCS can be added as a supplement to other processes such as on top of bio-energy use. The application of BECCS would make it possible to reach agreed climate targets at lower costs, and also involves opportunities to raise the ambitions for emission reductions and the pace of climate mitigation work.

 

Due to those implications, BECCS stands out as a viable, cost effective method to significantly reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Other mitigation methods alone are said to be insufficient or too expensive to reach rigorous climate mitigation targets to 450 ppm while with BECCS, it is possible to reach below 350 ppm (Global Status of BECCS Projects, 2010).

*article from Mr. Bayu Prabowo, STEM Faculty Member

 

Reference:

Global Status of BECCS Projects 2010, Global CCS Institute, 2010

IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, IPCC, 2011

Potential Contribution of Bioenergy to the World’s Future Energy Demand. International Energy Agency Bioenergy, 2007