Science Special - Carbon negative energy

Welcome back to Science Friday — our weekly blog post that links you to the most recent and relevant academic research on carbon removal. This week, we're focusing on the energy sector. Take a look at some of the research fresh from the new year and don't forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments! 

Nature Energy released their first issue and with it came two important pieces with thoughts on carbon removal. First, this piece from Daniel L. Sanchez and Daniel M. Kammen explores a commercialization strategy for carbon-negative energy through the advancement of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Citing the few BECCS facilities in existence today and the flexibility of thermochemical conversion of biomass, Sanchez and Kammen not only call upon government and industry to take action to develop and refine these technologies, but also give them a policy/technology roadmap to do so. This short piece is worth a read!

Next, David Reiner's research explores the world of CCS demonstration projects, outlining how far we have come and what work still needs to be done to meet global climate commitments. Reiner calls for a renewed commitment to CCS demonstration despite high costs, and emphasizes the need for a globally coordinated portfolio of demonstration projects that "learn through diversity." While not solely focused on carbon-negative CCS systems, Reiner's research could be important to the future of BECCS technology as the world begins to bring down costs of and de-risk CCS generally.

In Nature Climate Change, Pete Smith et. al, in "Biophysical and economic limits to negative CO2 emissions," lays out the needs for and limits to carbon removal systems generally. With some great graphics, Smith emphasizes the distinctive constraints between carbon removal technologies, particularly when it comes to the differences between BECCS and direct air capture systems. Read more about the water, economic, land use, energy, and nutrient tradeoffs in his article. 

Source: Nature Climate Change

Source: Nature Climate Change

Again, let us know your thoughts on these three articles in the comments below!