UK government’s biomass strategy to prioritise carbon capture and storage (CCS) long term to achieve the UK’s net zero target.
Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology captures and stores CO2 from biomass while producing low-carbon energy, including electricity, heat, hydrogen and biofuels. The government says this is critical to meeting net zero.
Statistics released in the strategy show biomass accounts for 8.6% of the UK’s energy supply in 2022.
According to the government, a key commitment of the Biomass Strategy is to develop and implement a cross-sectoral common sustainability framework, subject to consultation.
As part of the strategy, the government says it will facilitate sustainable biomass deployment in the 2020s (short term) through a range of incentives and requirements covering power, heat and transport.
In the medium term (to 2035), the UK government says it intends to further develop biomass uses in power, heat and transport sectors to support the delivery of Carbon Budget 6. The strategy says this is in advance of transitioning away from unabated emission uses of biomass where possible to uses, such as BECCS.
The government states biomass use in the long term (to 2050) is difficult to predict owing to wide-ranging uncertainties and evidence gaps. According to the modelling used in the strategy biomass use combined with BECCS for power, heat and transport contributes the most towards net zero. The strategy also says emerging bioeconomy products and markets beyond energy will continue to be reviewed.
Biomass “could still play a role” in hard-to-decarbonise sectors that may not be able to universally deploy BECCS but have limited alternatives, the strategy says; however, the government expects that relative demand will be lower than BECCS usage.
WRA welcomes strategy launch
The Wood Recyclers’ Association has welcomed the launch of the government’s biomass strategy.
Richard Coulson, Chair of the WRA, commented: “We welcome this strategy which re-affirms the government’s commitment to sustainable biomass among the wider energy mix and recognises the important role that waste wood biomass can play.
“Biomass powered by waste wood not only delivers reliable, renewable baseload power but, by using domestic waste as a fuel, prevents greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.
“There is now an urgent need for the government to go further and confirm support for our sector to deploy power bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS), to enable us to invest for the future.”