ECR at the BECCS Specialist Meeting, June 2016

Written by Khalidah Al-Qayim, a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield who was funded by the ECR Meeting Fund to attend the BECCS Specialist Meeting in London on 23 June 2016

I attended a very informative meeting at the Imperial College London on 23 June 2016. The aim of the meeting was to explore the latest development in the negative emissions technology modelling that can be linked with the integrated assessment modelling of BECCS technologies. Five technical experts* in BECCS industry and modelling have given speeches on this topic.

The first speaker was Sabine Fuss (Mercator Research Institute). She talked about the limitations of negative emissions technologies such as the BECCS, in the climate change mitigations. The power generation efficiency of the biomass is reduced with adding the carbon capture plant by 50%, the CAPEX is increased by 145% and the OPEX is increased by 25%. This fact reveals the necessity of developing new carbon capture technologies with lower costs and more efficiency.

The second speaker was Jasmin Kemper (IEAGHG). She raised the question; How can we integrate GHG limits in the policy hat? In order to achieve the 2°C goal, BECCS should be part of the mitigation scenario. In 2100 the BECCS and the ocean energy will be major sources in the energy sector among other solutions such as the cement, biochar and green soil. Now we have two options; priority to low carbon technologies, and build up support for future GGR lock-out of valuable industries. Also capture-ready requirement for power plants can be a mandatory condition in the future.

Professor Pourkashanian (University of Sheffield) talked about the technical aspects of BECCS in the power industry. The experimental facility located in Beighton is running a 250 kW rig with biomass to examine the operational boundary conditions and the emissions produced. The main challenge with bioenergy is the impact of aerosols adjacent to the fly ash on the boilers durability. Fundamental studies are now taking place on the fly ash characterization, char combustion kinetics, and fuel characterization in comparison to coal.

Amit Bhave (CMCL Innovations) presented the BECCS Model Development Suite (MoDS) that his company has recently produced. The model is of two levels, the system level in terms of technical and economic aspects with life cycle assessment and uncertainty analysis, and the second is the component level using GPROM tool kit to design operational units. The program flow is a cycle of landscape review, process flowsheet and model parameterization.

The last speaker was Mark Workman (ICL) who brought the attention to the importance of including the low-carbon technologies and BECCS in the mainstream climate policies as soon as possible to encourage the innovation in this area and determine the best technology at large scale. Finally, the debate was on what policies are needed to adapt the BECCS as one of the climate change mitigation solutions.

*Presentations can be found on the event page