Friday, 24 November 2017

Climate change: Bio-energy + carbon capture and storage

We can try some clever ways to get ourselves out of this climate change fix:
Futures Forum: Climate change >>> Engineering the climate >>> >>> >>> 'As a technology of last resort, carbon removal is paradoxical. It may be impossible to manage and it may also be impossible to manage without.'

And a tweaking of this technology would involve planting lots of trees: 

Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is a future greenhouse gas mitigation technology which produces negative carbon dioxide emissions by combining bioenergy (energy from biomass) use with geologic carbon capture and storage.[1] The concept of BECCS is drawn from the integration of trees and crops, which extract carbon dioxide (CO2) 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 CO2 injection into geological formations.[2]

Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage - Wikipedia

Here's an overview:

Timeline: How BECCS became climate change’s ‘saviour’ technology

April 13. 2016. 8:00

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage – better known by the acronym “BECCS” – has come to be seen as one of the most viable and cost-effective negative emissions technologies.

Even though they have yet to be demonstrated at a commercial scale, negative emissions technologies – typically BECCS – are now included by climate scientists in the majority of modelled “pathways” showing how the world can avoid the internationally agreed limit of staying “well below” 2C of global warming since the pre-industrial era.

Put simply, without deploying BECCS at a global scale from mid-century onwards, most modellers think we will likely breach this limit by the end of this century.

But where did the idea for this “saviour” technology come from? Who came up with it? Who then developed and promoted the concept?

Continuing our week-long series of articles on negative emissions, Carbon Brief has looked back over the past two decades and pieced together the seminal moments – the conferences, the conversations, the papers – which saw BECCS develop into one of the key assumed options for avoiding dangerous climate change.

The interactive timeline above shows these moments in sequential order. But Carbon Brief has also spoken to the scientists who were instrumental to the concept first taking hold…

Timeline: How BECCS became climate change's 'saviour' technology | Carbon Brief

But not everyone's convinced:

Sustainable Energy

The Dubious Promise of Bioenergy Plus Carbon Capture

Climate change agreements rest on negative emissions technologies that may be unachievable.

by Richard Martin
January 8, 2016

Eliminating carbon dioxide that’s already been emitted is essential to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

While many scientists and climate change activists hailed December’s Paris agreement as a historic step forward for international efforts to limit global warming, the landmark accord rests on a highly dubious assumption: to achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to less than 2 °C (much less the more ambitious goal of 1.5 °C), we don’t just need to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to essentially zero by the end of this century. We also must remove from the atmosphere huge amounts of carbon dioxide that have already been emitted 
(see “Paris Climate Agreement Rests on Shaky Technological Foundations”).

Doing so will involve “negative emissions technologies”—systems that capture carbon dioxide and store it, usually deep underground. Such technologies are theoretical at best, but they are considered critical for achieving the Paris goals. Of the 116 scenarios reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to achieve stabilization of carbon in the atmosphere at between 430 and 480 parts per million (the level considered necessary for a maximum 2 °C rise in temperature), 101 involve some form of negative emissions.

There are basically two ways to eliminate carbon from the atmosphere. One is to capture it from the air. Technologies to do so are still in their infancy and, even if they do prove practical, are likely decades away from deployment—far too late to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement (see “Materials Could Capture CO2 and Make It Useful”). The other is to rely on plants to capture the carbon dioxide, then burn the plants to generate power (or refine them into liquid fuels such as ethanol), and capture the resulting carbon emissions. Known as “bioenergy plus carbon capture and storage,” or BECCS, this cumbersome process is receiving renewed attention in the wake of Paris. But there is no guarantee that it will ever work.

Large amounts of biomass would be produced from fast-growing trees, switchgrass, agriculture waste, or other sources. The biomass would then be turned into pellets for burning in power plants—either on their own or as additives. The resulting emissions would be separated using carbon-capture technologies that have been proven at small scale but have never been applied economically at anything like commercial scale. Finally, the carbon dioxide would be stored in deep-underground aquifers, presumably permanently.

The Dubious Promise of Bioenergy Plus Carbon Capture - MIT Technology Review

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