New report exposes claims made about bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to be based on hype, not real-world experience
– for immediate release –
28th November 2022 – Today, Biofuelwatch has released a comprehensive report about carbon capture from biomass power and heat plants and from waste incinerators. The report compares the reality of existing projects and the technical challenges they face with claims that such technologies can make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation and even remove CO2 that has been emitted into the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. The report juxtaposes Drax Group’s limited experience with carbon capture with its extremely ambitious proposals for BECCS at its Yorkshire power station.
Biofuelwatch’s report considers 17 actual or proposed biomass or waste incineration carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects worldwide, including in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. It reveals that the amount of CO2 captured so far is minimal and that major technical challenges, including a large energy requirement for carbon capture and problems with corrosion, are not even close to being overcome. Several operators with so far tiny CO2 capture trials are vying for subsidies with claims that they can scale up those small trials as much as >1,000-fold or, in the case of Drax in the UK, by more than 200,000 times without any further research and development. It highlights the fact that the scale of the carbon capture and sequestration project Drax and the UK government are proposing goes beyond anything achieved by any CCS project in the world. Yet there is no experience with large-scale carbon capture of any type in the UK, nor with transporting CO2 by pipeline or sequestering it in geological reservoirs.
Report author Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch states: “Company investments into carbon capture from biomass and waste incinerators are almost entirely driven by subsidies which, as we fear may happen with Drax in the UK, might even be paid for so-called BECCS project in the absence of any actual carbon capture. Those subsidies could and should be spent on proven, effective measures to reduce carbon emissions, such as investing in home insulation, in heat pumps and low-carbon renewable energy as well as in recycling and moving towards a genuine circular economy.”
Nearly half of the projects identified in the report involve waste incinerators rather than biomass plants.
Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of the UK Without Incineration network (UKWIN), says: “No amount of carbon capture can hide the fact that waste incineration is a leakage from the circular economy. Carbon capture is very costly, both financially and environmentally, and any investment should be directed to supporting reduction, reuse and recycling. UKWIN welcomes this new report, which will help inform the ongoing debate around finding genuine solutions to our climate crisis.”
Link to the Biofuelwatch report:
Almuth Ernsting, email@example.com , Tel +44-131 6232600