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University of Southampton
University of Exeter:
Dr Gemma Delafield
Prof Brett Day
Dr Caspar Donnison
Decarbonisation of electricity generation is a key requirement for the UK to reach net zero by 2050 and Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is recognised as an essential technology to enable this industrial decarbonisation. Despite this, the environmental and social impacts, alongside optimum size and siting of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), are not well understood, particularly at the regional scale. The aim of this research is to identify optimal sites for BECCS that provide a win-win for both energy decarbonisation, and wider benefits to the environment, quantified as ecosystem services, enabling a successful move to net zero by 2050, across the UK. To achieve this we have developed a modelling optimisation tool that is resolved for the whole UK at 1 x 1 km2. This tool considers the market value of biomass, alongside a basket of ecosystem services including soil carbon, water stress, flood protection and food crop value. Our first optimisations have shown that significant spatial differences are apparent for optimised BECCS. However, these results are limited since not all major power clusters requiring decarbonisation were considered. In this project we will investigate the potential of the IDRIC clusters across the UK to deliver BECCS and identify the optimal sites.
• Ongoing discussions with: Drax, the National Farmers Union, the Welsh & Scottish governments, and Defra
Utilise the NEV net-zero model to determine the least-cost locations for BECCS power stations and bioenergy crops at different industrial cluster locations.
Use these results to explore how:
1) BECCS impacts the natural environment (i.e. ecosystem services)
2) BECCS impacts food production within the UK
3) The scale of land use change
BECCS supply chains suggest that a significant increase in home-grown bioenergy crops will be needed.
• Increased reliance on home-grown bioenergy crops could result in over 2,000,000 ha of land use change.
• Strategic deployment and incentives are required to achieve the environmental co-benefits offered by bioenergy crops.