Bio-CCS - Bioenergy with Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage
The concept of Bioenergy and Carbon Storage (BECS or Bio-CCS) has been suggested as a means of producing carbon negative power (i.e. removing carbon dioxide from the atmopshere via biomass conversion technologies and storage underground). Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is currently at a demonstration phase, and research is mainly focused on reducing the costs of capture and storage so that it can be applied to a new generation of large-scale, power stations with lower emissions. However, in the future CCS could potentially be appled to a wide range of energy plants, including those incorporating co-firing or co-gasification of sustainable biomass feedstocks (agricultural and wood wastes and energy crops), or even 100% biomass energy plants, biofuel production facilities or biorefineries.
The release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by human activity is caused both by extraction and combustion of fossil fuels and by clearance of forests where large amounts of carbon are stored as biomass. Carbon sequestration through reforestation (long-term storage of carbon in plants and trees), offers potential to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Reforestation is not only about maximising the amount of carbon stored per unit of land area. For example, to protect biodiversity and preserve habitat, a mix of plant species is desirable, as opposed to monocultures. See Sustainable Forestry Initiative (US) and Sustainable Foresty and the European Union.
Biomass with CO2 Capture and Storage (Bio-CCS) - The way forward for Europe
This report was produced by the Zero Emissions Platform with input from the European Biofuels Technology Platform.
Bio-CCS combines sustainable biomass conversion with CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) – e.g. in biofuels and bioenergy production – and is already being deployed at industrial scale in the U.S.*. Use of biofuels and bioenergy is steadily increasing in the European Union (EU) due to targets for renewable energy sources and certain biofuels production routes could provide “low-hanging fruits” for early, low-cost CCS deployment. A recent study indicated that, globally, Bio-CCS could remove 10 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year by 2050 using available sustainable biomass – equivalent to a third of all current global energy-related emissions. In Europe, Bio-CCS could remove 800 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year by 2050* using available sustainable biomass – equivalent to over 50% of current emissions from the EU power sector. This is in addition to any emissions reductions achieved by replacing fossil fuels with that biomass. Bio-CCS could ultimately result in industry sectors whose overall emissions are below zero, which could then offset emissions in other sectors where reductions are more difficult to attain (*please refer to report for detailed refrences).
Download report (2.5Mb, published 20-06-12)
Assessment Report from the GCEP Workshop on Energy Supply with Negative Carbon Emissions
As part of its assessment towards energy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), held a workshop at Stanford University on June 15, 2012, on the topic of Energy Supply with Negative Carbon Emissions. The workshop addressed 4 main topics: Biomass Energy with Negative Emissions; Carbon Capture, Conversion and Storage; Addressing Other Contributions to Carbon Emissions; and System Modeling. This report summarizes the discussion and highlights research needs that were identified at the workshop by speakers and participants. The unparalleled ability of biological systems to capture and cycle carbon, and the potential to use these systems as part of an energy supply that leads to negative emissions, was brought to the forefront at this workshop, as well as the need for integrated systems of supply, conversion and storage. Reaching net negative carbon emissions on a global scale could also be possible without the use of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, but the predicted costs of carbon in these energy technology scenarios would be extraordinarily high. Studies aimed at understanding and overcoming the limits to technologies for bioenergy with negative emissions, identification of integrated and optimized systems for negative emissions, and research towards novel carbon storage technologies would represent groundbreaking steps towards technologies that could achieve net negative carbon emissions in our energy supply.
ZEP/EBTP Bio-CCS JTF
The potential for synergies between advanced CCS and bioenergy/biofuels production technologies is the focus of the Bio-CCS Joint Task Force involving members of both the Zero Emissions Platform and the EBTP. Presentations from the Second International Workshop on Bio-CCS held at Cardiff University in October 2011, are now availble.
IEAGHG 2011 Report on Bio-CCS
An overview of global Bio-CCS is provide by the IEAGHG report Potential for Biomass and CO2 Capture and Storage.
Decatur project for CCS from bioethanol Plant, Illinois US
The US DOE has allocated Recovery Act funds to more than 25 projects that capture CO2 emissions from industrial sources and sequester in underground formations. Three CCS large-scale projects include one in Decatur Illinois, where the Archer Daniels Midland Company will capture and sequester 1 million tons of CO2 per year from an existing ethanol plant in Illinois, starting in August 2012. The CO2 will be sequestered in the Mt. Simon Sandstone, a well-characterized saline reservoir located about one mile from the plant. The project team includes Archer Daniels Midland, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and the Illinois State Geological Survey [Source: DoE].
Sustainability issues of large-scale Bioenergy
The concept of very large biomass energy power plants (of a size that makes CCS economically viable) has caused some concerns among sustainability organisations, who fear that it could lead to deforestation of diverse habitat to make way for extensive monocultures of energy crops. Such issues are addressed on the sustainability section of this website, and covered by a number of global initiatives on production and certification of sustainable biomass feedstocks.
Carbon sequestration through reforestation
In March 2012 the US EPA published a short report Carbon sequestration through reforestation. The report specifically addresses the potential for reforestation of Abandoned Mine Lands in the United States, but also covers the principles of reforestation as a means of carbon sequestration (i.e. removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it long-term within trees and plants).
Coal/biomass Co-gasfication and CCS
Co-gasification of biomass and coal with CSS has been investigated by the US National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Background information on CCS technology