Successful launch of first-of-a-kind report on Bio-CCS

Publish date: June 22, 2012

A new report - “Biomass with CO2 Capture and Storage (Bio-CCS), the way forward for Europe”, to which Bellona contributed as initiator, facilitator and co-author, was well-received at its launch event during the Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels. The report explains how, by combining CCS with conversion of sustainable biomass, CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere over time. Representatives from the European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) alike welcomed the initiative, arguing that Bio-CCS could be a critical technology to reach long-term climate commitments.

The report – a joint publication from EBTP and ZEP, the two EU Technology Platforms for biofuels and CCS respectively – was launched at a session which signified the first CCS-focused session during the history of the EU Sustainable Energy Week, held in Brussels annually. The event which drew a lot of attention was chaired by Jonas Helseth, Deputy Director of Bellona Europa and one of the contributors to the report.

An EU policy introduction by Hans van Steen, Head of the Renewables and CCS Policy Unit at the European Commission, was followed by a presentation of the report by Helseth together with Kai Sipilä (VTT) representing the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP) and Philippe Paelinck (Alstom) representing the Zero Emission Technology Platform (ZEP).

Rob Finley, the Director of the Advanced Energy Technology Initiative, calling in from Illinois, provided the mixed-background audience with a real-life, industrial perspective. He is working with the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium on ADM’s Decatur bioethanol CCS project, where Bio-CCS is already taking place at an industrial scale, aiming to capture and store about one million tonnes of CO2 annually. The message to the policy makers in the room was clear – large-scale Bio-CCS is not decades into the future, it is a possibility today.

The second half of the session, consisting of presentations and a panel discussion with, in addition to the presenters of the report, Anselm Eisentraut from the IEA, Marko Janhunen from UPM, Janne Kärki from VTT and Michiel Carbo from ECN, and Tom Gameson from Abengoa reinforced the need for CO2-negative technologies to reach climate goals. Eisentraut referred to biofuels with CCS as a low-cost option for implementing CCS, but insisted that additional incentives are required for its commercial deployment. Clearer policy guidelines were requested by all participants, who also emphasized the necessity to be able to account for negative emissions – something that is not yet possible under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

As stated by IEA’s Eisentraut, Bio-CCS can be a window of opportunity to help bring CCS forward and it is an opportunity not to be missed. The initial momentum of Bio-CCS is there, as shown from the success of the event. Now, guidelines from policy makers and support from investors are required to move the game-changing technology off the ground. Commercial deployment of CO2-negative technologies, such as Bio-CCS, will likely be necessary for achieving the emissions reductions required to avoid runaway climate change in this century.

All presentations are available for download on the event website.

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