Government opens consultation on biomass carbon capture and storage

As Net Zero week continues, there are concerns that unsustainable business practices and inertia within industries may well lead to the downfall of our carbon neutral future.

The Government has unveiled a consultation, hoping to attract industry views on how to support the development of biomass powered carbon capture projects in the UK over the next decade.

The combination of biomass energy – derived from sustainable plant material – and carbon capture is known as BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage.)

The process generates biomass energy and stores the carbon released in the process through Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) technology.

This offers the potential to produce home-grown energy with “negative emissions” – by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

The CO2 can be absorbed during the growth of the biomass can then be permanently removed from the atmosphere using carbon capture technologies.

The consultation seeks views on how the Government can help attract private investment to accelerate the development of this nascent industry.

It hopes the technology will help bolster domestic energy security, while also supporting new job opportunities across the country including industrial clusters developing carbon capture networks.

This follows £37m in government funding awarded earlier this month to innovative biomass projects across the UK.

It also comes after commitments set out in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy to support the role of Greenhouse Gas Removal technolog.

This including the ambition to remove 5m tonnes of greenhouse gases per year from the atmosphere by the end of the decade .

The consultation will run until October.

The launch of the consultation comes the same day there have been reports that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has raised concerns over biomass production at the Drax Power Station.

He has argued that importing US-made wood pellets to be burnt for energy by power company Drax is not sustainable and “doesn’t make any sense,” according to The Financial Times.

Kwarteng told MPs that the Government had not fully investigated the sustainability of burning wood pellets, one of the types of biomass.

He said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had discussed biomass with industry but “we haven’t actually questioned some of the premises” of the sustainability of pellets.

The Government has spent millions subsidising the burning of pellets in Drax’s Yorkshire facility over the past decade and the fuel features prominently in the UK’s net zero strategy.