ETI: biomass and CCS vital for UK’s low-carbon future

Biomass combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) remains the only credible route to deliver negative emissions to help meet the UK's 2050 climate change targets, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has reiterated.

The public-private partnership, which connects global energy and engineering companies such as BP, Rolls-Royce and Shell with the UK Government, has released a second report in the space of a month that stresses the importance of biomass to the UK’s future energy mix.

Today’s report builds on the ETI’s existing finding that not including biomass and CCS in the UK’s plans will double the cost of deliver a low carbon transition.


Using its Value Chain Model (BVCM) – a tool that allows them to model how the UK bioenergy sector may develop over the next five decades – the ETI has worked through the options “to deliver the most valuable energy vectors and emission savings to the future UK energy system”.

Effective locations

ETI suggests that hubs of bioenergy production with CCS are created to produce economically efficient value chains for infrastructure planning.

Practically, the most attractive areas for developing biomass are the west and north-west of the UK for short rotation coppice Willow; while short rotation forestry and Miscanthus would be most suitable in the south and east of the UK. The ETI was able to make this assertion based on the locations most likely to give best yields against the distance from processing plants.

In its report, the ETI also identified gasification as one of the most flexible, scalable, efficient and cost effective bioenergy technologies for further development as it can produce multiple energy vectors, including hydrogen and syngas. 

The report highlights gasification to hydrogen with CCS in the west of England at Barrow-in-Furness and Combined Cycle Gas Turbines running on syngas at Thames and Easington in the east of England as effective combined locations.

Credible delivery

ETI’s bioenergy strategy manager Geraldine Newton-Cross said: “Deployed effectively, bioenergy has the potential to help secure UK energy supplies, mitigate climate change, and create significant green growth opportunities.”

“It could play two important roles as biomass combined with carbon capture and storage remains the only credible way to deliver negative emissions cost effectively and biomass and waste could deliver a significant amount of low carbon energy in a future UK energy system.”

“UK land is finite and valuable but with the right prioritisation the modelling work suggests the country could deliver sufficient sustainably produced biomass feedstock to make a hugely important contribution to the delivery of the UKs overall greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.”

Critical decisions

The ETI’s previous report warned policymakers that biomass and CCS technologies must be included in plans from the beginning to avoid wasting investment. It also said that critical decisions about the UK’s future energy supply need to be taken by 2025 to ensure the 2050 targets remain achievable.

Download the ETI report here.

Lucinda Dann

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