In our penultimate webinar of this series, Dr Nem Vaughan presented research from the FAB GGR project which is looking at the feasibility of afforestation and biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) for greenhouse gas removal.
This highly interdisciplinary project has brought together expertise in economics, social and political science, engineering, life cycle analysis, and modelling of crop growth, climate and carbon cycles to examine how two GGR approaches – large scale afforestation and BECCS – might work in the real world.
Dr Vaughan presented two pieces of research, both reporting on qualitative data from stakeholder workshops held in 2017 and 2019 with participants from industry, policy and NGOs. Analysis of data from the first workshop identified twelve themes on the possible issues surrounding afforestation and BECCS. These highlighted some of the continuing tensions and questions in this area around permanence of removal, challenges in scaling up and how to ensure impact is properly measured and reported. There were also interrelated issues around ethics of these approaches, competition with human needs and the level of complexity encountered when afforestation and BECCS are put into practice.
The second piece of research used a multicriteria mapping approach with stakeholders to illicit their views on criteria for the assessment of feasibility of the two GGR approaches. These criteria were then used by participants to evaluate four different supply chains by providing their most optimistic and pessimistic scores. Overall afforestation was judged to be the most feasible supply chain, followed by hydrogen with short rotation coppice (SRC), power with residues and combined heat and power (CHP) with miscanthus.
The process identified a number of key factors that will be important to consider in deployment of afforestation and BECCs such as the role of farming communities in the required land use shift. There will also be a need for global cooperation to ensure sustainable biomass supply and, within this, a consideration of local variations in terms of infrastructure, climatology, markets, energy systems and communities which will affect the feasibility of afforestation and BECCS.
The full set of videos from the webinar series can be seen on our youtube channel.