University of Manchester to assess BECCS’ future role for England’s North-West

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Researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK have been commissioned to undertake a project to assess the future of bioenergy and carbon cature and storage (BECCS). The Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) greenlit the project.
The project is entitled Integrated Assessment of BECCS in context: environmental, policy, regulatory and social factors, and is a cross-disciplinary study led by Dr Clair Gough from Tyndall Manchester to look at prospective BECCS facilities within the North West industrial cluster.
The North West industrial cluster identifies as an industry-led cluster that acts as a public and private sector investment accelerator for industrial decarbonisation and clean growth projects in the North West of England. It unites business, regional leaders and academia, and is committed to delivering a co-ordinated net zero vision for the region.
Effective use of BECCS depends on a better understanding of many factors across its complex supply chains. This project will ask: what configurations minimise the emissions associated with transporting biomass, CO2 and energy along the supply chain?; what are the policy gaps and uncertainties associated with deploying, regulating and governing BECCS?; and how do local communities view the development of BECCS in their region?
The research will be conducted through a combination of linked desk-based and empirical methods which will bring together spatial modelling, carbon accounting, policy mapping, interviews with stakeholders and a community workshop, according to the University of Manchester.
Dr Clair Gough, senior research fellow at Tyndall Manchester, explained: “This project is all about mapping the non-technical challenges to BECCS deployment. By taking a systems-based approach and looking at environmental, policy, regulatory and social factors, this project will identify obstacles, and help pinpoint the solutions for BECCS to play its part in reaching Net Zero in the UK.”
Professor Benjamin K. Sovacool, research co-director IDRIC, University of Sussex, added: “If we want to achieve near term BECCS deployment, we need to better understand the variables that will affect successful deployment. We need to assess the key social, economic and policy aspects that will determine its realistic impact and Clair’s team will build on the research from Wave 1, and help us understand BECCS in the round.”
This project is one of 20 that will be supported as part of IDRIC’s Wave 2 £6 million (€6.7m) funding to accelerate decarbonisation of industry. Designed to aid industrial decarbonisation in Scotland, Northwest England, Teesside, Solent, Black Country, Humber and South Wales, this second wave will fund 20 projects across 14 institutions covering a wide range of technological, environmental, economic, skills and social aspects of decarbonisation.

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