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European Biofuels Technology Platform stresses benefits of Bio-CC

By Erin Voegele | June 22, 2012

The European Biofuels Technology Platform published a report in June that addresses the potential to couple carbon capture and storage (CCS) with biofuel and biomass technologies. The report, titled “Biomass with CO2 Capture and Storage (Bio-CCS),” asserts that Bio-CCS is the only large-scale technology that can remove CO2 from the atmosphere, as it combines sustainable biofuel and bioenergy production with CCS, leading to carbon negative products. This type of process is already underway in the U.S. at an ADM ethanol plant.

Additional key findings uncovered by the report note that the biofuels industry in Europe could provide “low-hanging fruits” for early, low-cost CCS deployment. In addition, the EBTP said in the report that studies have indicated Bio-CCS cold remove 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year by 2050 using available, sustainable biomass. In Europe alone, 800 metric tons of carbon dioxide could be captured per year.

According to the EBTP, there are several biomass conversion routes that would be appropriate to pair with CCS technology, including bio-chemical biofuel production, thermo-chemical production of biofuels and biochemical, and biomass combustion for heat and power. While the process to convert biomass into biofuels or biochemical generally produces a smaller stream of carbon dioxide than burning biomass for heat or power does, the report noted it is generally easier to separate the carbon dioxide stream out of biofuel conversation processes.

In its report, the EBTP urges the EU to take several steps to encourage Bio-CCS deployment. The group encourages the EU to reward negative emissions for Bio-CCS under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in the same way it recognizes fossil CCS. Since several relatively small biomass facilities could partner with other carbon dioxide producers to bring create economies of scale, the EBTP also asks the EU to identify and incentivize the clustering of small-scale biogenic emission sources with other emission sources. Another suggestion offered by the EPTP is that research and development activities to determine the costs of various Bio-CCS routs should be undertaken. In addition, the group requests that dedicated funding for research and development and pilot projects to deployed by the government.

A full version of the study can be downloaded from the EBTP website.