Work Package CA1: BECCS within the energy system

Summary 

In order to meet the Paris climate target, we need to remove significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, with bioenergy + CCS (BECCS) considered a promising option. However, sustainable biomass is a scarce resource, and must be used in the best manner possible. This work will study how biomass can optimally be used to both remove CO2 from the atmosphere and simultaneously provide renewable energy services.

Description

Building on detailed (first principles) technical modelling of oxy- and amine-BECCSxv and drawing on WP AC1, we conduct a socio-technoeconomic analysis of the potential role for BECCS in the larger energy system. We will use optimisation techniques to assess how to remove CO2 from the atmosphere at least cost and identify the preferred design and configurations across net negative options including BECCS. Thermal plant tends to get displaced by intermittent renewables – but an idle BECCS plant is of little value; so the question is how to extract the maximum value from a BECCS plant? We will evaluate using BECCS to remove CO2 from the atmosphere via baseload operation, and storing the electricity via H2 production. We will seek to address some critical questions: What is the best (e.g., least cost per tCO2 removed from the atmosphere) way to achieve this? Is the best option pulverised fuel thermal plant collocated and integrated with electrolysis (e.g., an oxy-CCS plant could use the H2), or a BIGCC-CCS plant? What is the best use of carbon-negative H2 (heating, transport, chemicals)? What are the technical constraints of injection into the gas network? How can BECCS be integrated into a renewable energy system: BECCS plants will need to operate within a decarbonised system that will include a greater degree of electrification of the energy system and greater penetration of renewable energy sources than is currently the case. We will explore how BECCS plant can best operate within a system that minimises time that BECCS plant are idle, for example linking baseload electricity for energy storage (for example generating Hydrogen) for alternative end uses. We will also work closely with successful projects under the current NERC/EPSRC/ESRC GGR call and meet with relevant projects at an early stage to ensure engagement and coordination of activities.

Researchers:

Niall MacDowell

Nilay Shah