There is a growing and significant dependence on biomass energy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS) in future greenhouse gas emission scenarios in global integrated assessment models and it has become central to the discourse around achieving a target of 2⁰C global average temperature rise. This reliance on BECCS hinges on its potential to deliver so-called negative emissions in order to maintain a sustainable atmospheric concentration of CO2 in a cost-effective manner. As a young and untested group of technologies, there are many uncertainties associated with BECCS and a there is strong imperative to better understand the conditions for and consequences of pursuing this group of technologies. BECCS technologies may offer a role in offsetting hard to abate sectors (e.g. agriculture and aviation) or may enable an ‘overshoot’ in reaching cumulative emissions budgets in the context of delayed action on mitigation. However, there is very little practical experience of implementing the technology in commercial applications and indeed relatively little research into its potential and the conditions for realising its deployment. This book aims to set out the technical and scientific parameters of delivering BECCS technologies within the wider social, economic and political context in which it sits, giving the reader a broad understanding of the key issues and potential consequences of pursuing BECCS.
To understand BECCS, what it can offer and how it might contribute to climate change mitigation it is essential to consider the variety of technical and non-technical constraints in a joined up manner. Bringing together modern biomass energy systems with CCS not only presents technical and scientific challenges but, to be delivered at scales large enough to contribute to negative emissions reductions, depends on other factors, such as geopolitics and supply chain integration and may have significant implications at a societal level. This book brings the issues together in a clear and accessible way that will support a more informed debate around the potential for this technology to unlock negative emissions.