Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
Corso Magenta 63
at FEEM Venice
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is broadly understood to be a key mitigation technology, yet modeling analyses provide different results regarding the applications in which it might be used most effectively. The GCAM model consistently shows significant deployment in electricity generation and in liquid fuels production, under different future technology cost assumptions, with bioenergy with CCS (BECCS) often the dominant application.
However, the viability and economic consequences of large-scale BECCS deployment are not fully understood. We explore the relationship between carbon prices, food-crop prices and use of BECCS, showing that the carbon price and biomass and food crop prices are directly related. We also show that BECCS reduces the upward pressure on food crop prices by lowering carbon prices (which also reduces climate change mitigation cost to society) and lowering the total biomass demand in climate change mitigation scenarios. All of this notwithstanding, many challenges, both technical and institutional, remain to be addressed before BECCS can be deployed at scale.
As such, this study challenges the view that CCS will primarily be coupled with power plants and used mainly in conjunction with fossil fuels, and suggests greater focus on practical implications of significant CCS and BECCS deployment to inform energy system transformation scenarios over the 21st century.