Opportunities and challenges for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) systems supporting net-zero emission targets

Almena-Ruiz, A.; Sparks, J.; Thornley, P.; Röder, M.

Human-induced climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. As a consequence of the sharp rise of the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs), the natural carbon cycle has been unbalanced and this has led to an observed temperature increase of 1.0 °C of the average global surface temperature over the last 45 years [1, 2]. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the major GHG contributing more than 80% of the total emissions. The mitigation of anthropogenic impact on the global climate has become a major scientific and political concern in recent decades [3, 4]. Many countries, including the UK, have passed laws to legally establish net-zero emissions targets [5]. Consequently, much research is focused on finding efficient routes for achieving a long-term transition to an alternative economic model, and using renewable biological resources to produce materials and energy. This briefing note focuses on the energy sector, which is the highest contributing sector, producing about 70% of the global GHG emissions [6]. Since present mitigation efforts have not achieved the emission reductions that would be required to avoid dangerous climate change, net-negative emission technologies (NETs) are increasingly discussed as a way to balance GHG emission sources and sinks in the near future. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is considered as a NET technology with great potential for large scale application. Different modelling frameworks, such as the integrated assessment models (IAMs) or the shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), give BECCS an essential role in meeting climate change targets through the future offsetting of current GHG emissions [7].

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