Power bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – BEIS consultation and NFU response

First published: 27 October 2022

An image of a wall of giant Miscanthus grass, planted to offset carbon emission.

The energy produced through the coupling of bioenergy to carbon capture and storage is one of multiple methods that uses agricultural resources for carbon removal from the atmosphere. The government has launched a consultation, seeking views on how it could help to deploy power BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) at scale within the UK.

7 October 2022

NFU submits response to BECCS strategy

We have submitted our response to proposed business models laid out by BEIS to help achieve the deployment of power BECCS at scale within the 2020s. 

Our response specifically covers a selection of consultation questions:

Have we identified the most important challenges in considering the development of power BECCS projects?

While we agree with the government's assessment of the challenges, the business model must also be applicable to power BECCS across a range of sizes of installations, including those outside of expected carbon capture clusters and pipelines.

Are there any other power BECCS-specific risks that need to be considered? If so, what are your proposals for mitigating them?

Our response highlights the need for greater clarity on sourcing a balance of biomass feedstocks, both domestic and imported, as this will be important for this first-of-a-kind negative emissions project. We would like to see a growing market for domestic biomass.

Do you agree that a power BECCS project should report against a suitable threshold to ensure that we achieve a minimum level of net-negativity from any power BECCS project is achieved?

We agree with the principle of a threshold to ensure a minimum level of net negativity, but emphasise that the threshold should be determined after future consideration of what is a feasible and reasonable level, factoring in multiple feedstock supply chains. 

NFU members can download our response in full: NFU consultation response – business model proposals for deployment of power BECCS

7 October 2022

Consultation closes

This consultation closed on 7 October.

11 August 2022

Government launches consultation

A consultation looking into proposals for business models to support the deployment of power BECCS was launched by BEIS.

A variety of GGR (greenhouse gas removal) methods will be needed to achieve the UK's net zero ambitions, where the government laid out in its Net Zero Strategy a goal of deploying at least 5 MtCO2/year of engineered GGRs by 2030. 

BEIS are therefore seeking views on proposed business models to incentivise the delivery of power BECCS as part of a portfolio of GGRs, which will need to be scaled up during the 2020s.

NFU view

The NFU has a keen interest in the multiple possible pathways that could use agricultural resources for carbon removal in the near future.

We previously responded to the BEIS Call for Evidence on Greenhouse Gas Removals (GGR) in February 2021, and the consultation on Business Models for Engineered GGRs in September 2022.

Our net zero ambition for British agriculture is predicated upon our near-unique ability as a sector to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Key among these methods is the coupling of bioenergy to carbon capture and storage (BECCS) through electricity generation.

We agree with the government and other industry stakeholders that power BECCS is a priority for deployment this decade, as part of the longer-term net zero strategy.

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Summary

  • The government opens a consultation seeking views on proposed business models for the deployment of power BECCS as part of a portfolio of GGRs.
  • The NFU has a keen interest in using agricultural resources for carbon removal given the unique ability British agriculture has as a sector, to remove carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  
  • We submitted our response to the consultation; key to our focus is the need for clarity on the initial and future balance of UK domestic and imported feedstocks.