Monday, August 6, 2012

Renewed Call for BECCS in Europe

The European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP) and the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP), working together in a self-styled Joint Taskforce (JTF) Bio-CCS, have released a new report calling for renewed commitment to BECCS in Europe.  The groups contend that BECCS represents the only viable large-scale negative emissions technology available, and as such BECCS will be essential for the EU in meeting its various climate targets over the next several decades.  To accelerate deployment, the report argues, "A key prerequisite is the maturation and commercialisation of CCS and advanced, sustainable biofuels production.  Bio-CCS is already being carried out on an industrial scale - but not in Europe, mainly because negative emissions are not rewarded in the EU ETS.  Dedicated funding for pilot projects to prove advanced technologies and close any knowledge gaps is also urgently required" (p. 23, emphasis original).  Specific recommendations include:

  1. Immediate action by the EU and Member States to shore up support for CCS demonstration projects
  2. Go for low-hanging fruit such as biofuels production (which generates a near-pure CO2 stream)
  3. Boost research on advanced, second-generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol
  4. Strengthen BECCS value chains (capture, transport, storage)
  5. Take advantage of potentially greater public openness to BECCS compared to conventional CCS
However, as ZEP itself has noted elsewhere (see ZEP to Rescue CCS in Europe?, 3/1), it is difficult to see how these steps can be effective in the absence of a more fundamental realignment of supply and demand in the EU ETS.  EUAs are currently priced at a mere 7.17 ($8.89), offering virtually no structural incentive for covered installations to reduce their carbon footprints.

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