• Chinese and US academics put case for coal/biomass gasification and carbon capture to reach negative emissions

    Date posted:

    • Post Author

      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A paper written by a range of academics from China and the USA has described a case for the use of gasification of coal and biomass for net-carbon-dioxide-negative power generation in China. It outlines the imperative for reducing carbon emissions from China and the importance such action will have for meeting the overall Paris Agreement target of limiting global average temperature rises to less than 2oC by the end of the century, and also points out that such action will contribute to the nearer-term target of improving air quality across China. A scenario of a mix of 35% biomass and 65% coal being gasified and then fired in a plant equipped with a carbon capture unit and associated storage is the recommendation of the paper, which estimates a resulting levelized cost of electricity of 9.2 US cents per kWh (8.3 € cents). It further finds that a carbon price of US$52/tonne (€46.7) would make the system cost competitive with pulverised coal-fired power plants, a price reasonably in keeping with the tax credit currently in place in the US for CCS-equipped plants. Gasification is employed as it “allows for a significant reduction in air pollutant emissions compared with direct combustion of these fuels”, and the inclusion of a significant amount of biomass in the mix is the basis for the claim to be able to achieve negative emissions. Such a result would indeed be welcome for the global climate and one can hope that the paper – which is full of detail – will help to influence policy makers.