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The role of bioenergy for global deep decarbonisation: CO 2 removal or low‐carbon energy?

Butnar, I; Broad, O; Solano Rodriguez, B; Dodds, PE; (2019) The role of bioenergy for global deep decarbonisation: CO 2 removal or low‐carbon energy? GCB Bioenergy 10.1111/gcbb.12666. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Bioenergy is expected to have a prominent role in limiting global greenhouse emissions to meet the climate change target of the Paris Agreement. Many studies identify negative emissions from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) as its key contribution, but assume that no other CO2 removal technologies are available. We use a global integrated assessment model, TIAM‐UCL, to investigate the role of bioenergy within the global energy system when direct air capture and afforestation are available as cost‐competitive alternatives to BECCS. We find that the presence of other CO2 removal technologies does not reduce the pressure on biomass resources but changes the use of bioenergy for climate mitigation. While we confirm that when available BECCS offers cheaper decarbonisation pathways, we also find that its use delays the phase‐out of unabated fossil fuels in industry and transport. Further, it displaces renewable electricity generation, potentially increasing the likelihood of missing the Paris Agreement target. We found that the most cost‐effective solution is to invest in a basket of CO2 removal technologies. However, if these technologies rely on CCS, then urgent action is required to ramp up the necessary infrastructure. We conclude that a sustainable biomass supply is critical for decarbonising the global energy system. Since only a few world regions carry the burden of producing the biomass resource and store CO2 in geological storage, adequate international collaboration, policies, and standards will be needed to realise this resource while avoiding undesired land‐use change.

Type: Article
Title: The role of bioenergy for global deep decarbonisation: CO 2 removal or low‐carbon energy?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12666
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcbb.12666
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Bioenergy, BECCS, climate change mitigation, integrated assessment, scenario analysis, carbon dioxide removal
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089376
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