You say BECCS, I say BiCRS (or vice versa)

First came BECCS

BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage) was one of the first technologies to be widely proposed as a “negative CO2 emissions technology” (NETs), for instance in the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (2014).

Then came biochar

A lot of the criticism above can and should be put into more perspective. There are places where BECCS make a lot of sense, where it can be done sustainably.

But what is the difference?

As a chemical engineer, I don’t see the difference in the same way. For me, both acronyms describe methods using biomass as a carbon vehicle to move CO2 from the atmosphere (through photosynthesis) into long-term storage, and creating some form of useful by-product in the process.

Product distribution for different bio-sourced carbon removal technologies
  • Oxygen content (higher oxygen, more combustion)
  • Water content (more water, more conversion to syngas, bio-oil)
  • Temperature (higher temperature, faster process)
  • Closed/open setup (more closed, more solids)
Pros/cons of the different technologies

Implementation

Another big difference between the technologies, is the way they can be implemented.

The implementation of different bio-based CO2 removal/utilization technologies.

Conclusion:

Fighting the climate crisis is complex. There is no good and evil way to use biomass in this nonlinear, dynamic chaotic problem, it really depends on a multitude of parameters what use is better where and when and how. While public acceptance of the technology and climate justice of the implementation are crucial for any climate solution, let’s not fall into the trap of creating arguments where there aren’t any.

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Lennart Joos

Lennart Joos

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PhD chemical engineering👷‍♂️ Founder @ out of the blue 🌊 Fulbrighter 🌎 innovation - climate tech - communication💡 2xTEDx-speaker 📢 (views my own)