Decarbonising Industry via BECCS: Promising Sectors, Challenges, and Techno-economic Limits of Negative Emissions

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Purpose of Review: This paper reviews recent literature on the combined use of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) in the industries of steel, cement, paper, ethanol, and chemicals, focusing on estimates of potential costs and the possibility of achieving “negative emissions”. Recent Findings: Bioethanol is seen as a potential near-term source of negative emissions, with CO2 transport as the main cost limitation. The paper industry is a current source of biogenic CO2, but complex CO2 capture configurations raise costs and limit BECCS potential. Remuneration for stored biogenic CO2 is needed to incentivise BECCS in these sectors. BECCS could also be used for carbon–neutral production of steel, cement, and chemicals, but these will likely require substantial incentives to become cost-competitive. While negative emissions may be possible from all industries considered, the overall CO2 balance is highly sensitive to biomass supply chains. Furthermore, the resource intensity of biomass cultivation and energy production for CO2 capture risks burden-shifting to other environmental impacts. Summary: Research on BECCS-in-industry is limited but growing, and estimates of costs and environmental impacts vary widely. While negative emissions are possible, transparent presentation of assumptions, system boundaries, and results is needed to increase comparability. In particular, the mixing of avoided emissions and physical storage of atmospheric CO2 creates confusion of whether physical negative emissions occur. More attention is needed to the geographic context of BECCS-in-industry outside of Europe, the USA, and Brazil, taking into account local biomass supply chains and CO2 storage siting, and minimise burden-shifting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cement
  • CO capture
  • Ethanol
  • Negative emissions
  • Paper
  • Steel


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