AVOID 1: The Potential for the Deployment of Negative Emissions Technologies in the UK

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AVOID 1: The Potential for the Deployment of Negative Emissions Technologies in the UK

July 30, 2010
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A mix of technological options to remove CO2 from the atmosphere could be viable at a reasonable scale and a reasonable cost in the order of magnitude of $100/tCO2 over coming decades. In the longer term this may allow a cap on CO2 emission trading/tax costs and support a rational carbon price.

  • Some options have the technological potential to make a significant contribution to emissions reductions by 2030, and are supported by an underlying economic rationale through the production of a useful product (electricity) and by energy security considerations.
  • A practical potential exists for negative emissions amounting to about 10% of UK current emissions by 2030, which may provide flexibility in delivering long-term GHG reduction targets by offsetting emissions that are difficult to capture (e.g. from agriculture and transportation).
  • Some other options (e.g. direct air capture) may be viable in the longer term but will take longer to scale up. The key advantage of some direct air capture devices is flexibility in location, which will be helpful to offset large CO2 positive transport systems.
  • There are currently many unknowns in the costs of the more forward looking technologies, including R&D pilot and scale-up support, and life cycle analyses. Research to define these costs is essential if these technologies are going to be available in the timescales discussed.
  • Some of the options have potential significant environmental impacts and these would need to be investigated in detail as an integrated part of the evaluation of these options.
  • If bioenergy carbon capture and storage is to be considered part of the mix, appropriate policy support and integration with the general CCS strategy should be deliberated as early as possible.