Can Bio-CCS lead to carbon negative solutions - technologies, potential and barriers for Bio-CCS deployment in Nordic countries

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    Carbon capture and storage is one of the major technologies for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to the level needed to stabilize global temperature rise to 2 °C. As the 2 °C target is slowly getting more and more challenging, there is an urgent need for near term solutions that can make a significant contribution to the restriction of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Bio-CCS, combining bioenergy with CCS is proposed to be one solution to the problem, claimed to be able to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. In general, as photosynthesis binds carbon from the atmosphere and the carbon is again released during biomass combustion, capturing CO2 from biomass combustion would thus lead to net negative emissions and therefore create a carbon sink. This is an on-going debate (e.g. in Smolker and Ernsting 2012) and therefore the objective of this paper is to understand and discuss the constraints and restrictions that relate to the idea of creating significant carbon sinks with this technology. The objective is also to investigate the realistic potential of Bio-CCS that could be deployed in the timeframe to 2050 with a special focus on Nordic countries. The potentials related to Bio-CCS in discussions vary from huge [ZEP 2012] to significant [IEA 2013, Koljonen et. al 2012], where the option of Bio-CCS allowed in the system analysis approach. Currently, the policies aiming for climate change mitigation do not consider biogenic CO2 emissions comparable to fossil CO2 emissions and the current EU-ETS does not recognize negative emissions. Therefore no fiscal incentive for capturing biogenic CO2 exists yet. However, a policy debate is going on if capture of biogenic CO2 should be incentivised and to what extent. From the Nordic perspective, a large part of CO2 emitted in Nordic countries, namely Finland and Sweden, is from biogenic sources in energy production and process industry, and thus the question of overall feasibility (for society) in the regard of sustainability is of significance. The technical implementation of Bio-CCS to different industrial sectors goes hand in hand with the development of "conventional" CCS technology deployment. In general, same technologies are suitable for capturing CO2 from biomass applications as for fossil fuels. The main differences relate to typical sizes and locations of emission sources or to the different kind of impurities in combustion, ash and flue gas. However, no principal technical restrictions to the capture of biogenic CO2 exist in energy generation applications or industrial processes. In this paper the technologies, feasibility and costs related are compared also from the sustainability and totally avoided emissions point of view. It also discusses the impact of different raw material utilisation scenarios to the deployment of Bio-CCS and mirroring the greenhouse gas balance discussion of different biomass to the CO2 reduction potential of Bio-CCS in Finland, Nordic countries and Europe. The scenarios highlighting the bottlenecks and constrains are based on power plant, industrial plant and emission database calculations with future projections. As the potential of Bio-CCS is very much bound on the availability and usage of biomass raw materials, the sustainability and greenhouse gas balance of raw materials is of essence. The current biomass flows and potentials set the initial limits for the deployment of Bio-CCS. Efficient utilization of constrained resources is an essential question, when the target is to optimize the impact on the system level, from the society point of view. The ultimate objective is to give suggestions weather deployment really gives desired impact to the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. As biomass can be used in many ways, the primary purpose of utilisation and products containing biogenic carbon also add up to this. When biomass is utilised for products other than energy, the impact to environment and economy differs. The opportunities with these technologies, realistic potential and the main threats related to Bio-CCS are discussed in the light of sustainability and economic potential.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event7th Trondheim Conference on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage, TCCS-7 - Trondheim, Norway
    Duration: 4 Jun 20136 Jun 2013


    Conference7th Trondheim Conference on CO2 Capture, Transport and Storage, TCCS-7


    • Bio-CCS
    • negative emissions
    • CCS potential


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