2022 journal article

When burning wood to generate energy makes climate sense


By: R. Abt*, C. Galik* & J. Baker*

author keywords: Biomass; bioenergy carbon capture and storage; BECCS; Drax; carbon emissions; renewables; wood pellets
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
15. Life on Land (Web of Science)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: May 23, 2022

ABSTRACT Over the last 20 years, IPPC reports have made it clear that the world must move beyond simply reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere to actively removing it from the skies. (Solar and wind can reduce carbon emissions, but they do not remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere). New BioEnergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technologies have been emerging that can remove carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and sequester them permanently underground. Indeed, many long-term scenarios for transitioning from today’s fossil fuel-dependent society to a future net zero society hinge on BECCS. But a key question is what bioenergy feedstock to use. In some cases, powering these facilities by burning biomass that comes from plantations in the US South is an option. Consequently, the study of the origins, production, and use of the fuel consumed by the world’s largest biomass-fired power plant in Drax, England, provides a useful case study of the potential advantages and disadvantages of the burning of biomass – wood pellets made from trees, bark, roots, stumps, millwaste, sawdust, and other woody vegetation – in place of fossil fuel to generate power for processes such as BECCS.