Generating Reliable Power & Low-Carbon Fuel from Biomass While Creating Negative Carbon Emissions:
Combining a Hydrocarbon Fueled Power Plant with Renewable Energy Farms, Energy Storage and Low-Carbon Fuel Production
As a result of rapid advances in technologies in several complementary areas including power generation with carbon capture, biochar production, catalytic conversion of CO2 to fuel, direct air capture, energy storage and renewable energy, biomass energy companies can enhance their facilities and increase their profits. These enhancements help these energy companies generate additional reliable power while creating negative carbon emissions, which can substantially increase their revenues and create positive messaging for their industry.
Given below is a brief history and summary of the information we prepared about these technologies:
1) Our team at Climate Solutions Advancement Network (ClimateSAN) worked with faculty and researchers from Ryerson and York Universities in Toronto to identify and assess leading-edge, clean energy technologies. As a result of our work, we have identified a set of complementary technologies that can be implemented quickly and on a substantial scale to help accelerate a transition to clean energy.
2) To summarize this information, we created a 3.5 min. animated video about these types of technology combinations. To view this video along with links to more information, see: Business Opportunities Creating Large-Scale Carbon Emissions Mitigation.
3) Then we prepared this article about these technology combinations: How Oil & Gas Companies Can Profitably Create Carbon-Negative Energy, which was published in oilprice-com on January 5, 2022.
4) After this article was published, we began working with experts in the biomass sector and determined that even a bigger impact could be created by combining biomass-fueled power generation with carbon capture, direct air capture, energy storage and renewable energy. Since both reliable energy and biochar can be produced from biomass, considerable co-benefits can be obtained from this biomass that cannot be obtained from fossil fuels. Producing biochar is an internationally recognized way of removing carbon from the atmosphere so producing it while generating electrical power can be considered a way of creating negative emissions. As well, biochar has many valuable uses including enhancing soil for increased food production.
5) A leading US-based publication for the biomass industry called Biomass Magazine published this article, which we prepared, on April 13, 2022: How Companies Can Profitably Create Carbon-Negative Energy from Biomass. This article contains this schematic:
6) The are multiple technologies that can capture CO2 from the flue gas of a biomass-fueled power plant. Given below two them and one notable emerging technology:
a) Allam Cycle by Netpower, which generates power from biogas or natural gas and captures 100% of CO2 created.
b) SureSource Capture by FuelCell Energy, which enables a hydrocarbon-based power plant to capture 90% of CO2 and generate additional electrical power. For more information, see this technical paper: “Fuel Cells finally find a killer app: Carbon Capture”.
c) Emerging technology: Lab turns hard-to-process plastic waste into carbon-capture master by Mike Williams, Rice University, APRIL 5, 2022. This lab estimates the cost of carbon dioxide capture from a point source like post-combustion flue gas would be $21 a ton.
7) In addition to generating reliable power with negative carbon emissions, the carbon dioxide in the flue gas of a biomass energy facility can be converted to useful carbon-based products. For example, a startup in California called Twelve, which recently received $57m in funding, has developed technology to transform carbon dioxide into jet fuel and plastics. We expect that jet fuel produced from biomass would be eligible for BC Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel credits, which had a minimum price of CA$345.00 and a maximum price of CA$475.00 in February 2022.
Given below are some additional examples of technologies enabling catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons:
a) Stackable artificial leaf uses less power than lightbulb to capture 100 times more carbon than other systems.
b) Catalyst turns carbon dioxide into gasoline 1,000 times more efficiently by Andrew Myers, Stanford University, Feb. 10, 2022.
c) Cheap catalysts turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuel – Copper-tin combo helps store solar energy in chemical bonds more efficiently than plants.
d) Directly converting CO2 into a gasoline fuel, 02 May 2017.
e) Transforming carbon dioxide into jet fuel using an organic combustion-synthesized Fe-Mn-K catalyst, 22 December 2020.
f) Baker Hughes Invests in Bio-methanation Technology Company Electrochaea, June 28, 2021
For a more complete review of technologies enabling catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons, see: CO2 towards fuels: A review of catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons, Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, April 2021.
8) Links to companies that indicate that they have technologies convert CO2 to useful products:
9a) To illustrate one combination of technologies that will generate reliable power and low-carbon fuel while creating negative carbon emissions, we prepared this schematic:
9b) Electrochaea‘s technology has the unique capability to accept flue gas directly and convert it pipeline-ready renewable natural gas. Therefore, the process of making renewable hydrocarbon fuel can be simplified to a process outlined in the schematic below:
10) A important feature of the technology combination shown above is that the CO2 can be stored in a tank before it is converted to a low-carbon fuel. CO2 is a non-corrosive gas that is can easily be stored as a liquid under pressure. Therefore, substantial quantities of it can be stored and then converted to fuel when electrical energy is available to do so.
11) This combination of technologies will generate these five income streams:
a) Electricity sold to the electrical grid.
b) Carbon removal credits for biochar production.
c) Sale of biochar to customers.
d) Low carbon fuel credits for the production of this fuel.
e) Sale of low-carbon fuel.
12) To help raise the capital needed to build this facility, long-term off-take agreements can be made for the revenue streams shown above. For example, in British Columbia, we expect the following agreements can be developed and negotiated:
a) Contract for electricity sold to BC Hydro after they re-start offering Electricity Purchase Agreements (EPAs).
b) Contract for carbon removal credits for biochar production through carbon trading platforms such as Puro Earth.
c) Contract for biochar to biochar marketing and reseller organizations such as AirTerra.
d) Contract for low-carbon fuel credits for the production of this fuel. For more information, see: BC Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel credit market.
e) Contract for low-carbon fuel from fuel retailers in BC.
13) Obtaining long-term off-take agreements for producing biochar is now much easier than before since many companies have committed to net-zero targets over the next few decades. For example, over 200 companies have committed to net-zero by 2040 and 21% of 2,000 of the world’s largest public companies, representing sales of nearly $14 trillion, now have committed to net-zero by 2050. These companies will need to purchase carbon emission credits to meet their respective commitments.
14) While the long-term off-take agreements are being prepared and negotiated, the government incentive funding should be applied for such as the Canadian Clean Fuels Fund or the $20 billion US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.
15) After long term off-take agreements are completed and government incentive funding has been received, the project can be presented to potential investors. Since the impact of this project is substantial and can be replicated many times over, we expect that very high net worth (VHNW) individuals that have publicly expressed concern about climate change would be interested to invest. For example, John Doerr from the venture capital fund called Kleiner Perkins in Menlo Park, California recently wrote a book called Speed & Scale, may be interested in this type of project.
16) Once a large carbon-negative emissions facility is operational, it can be refinanced with a Green Bond. These days, there are many buyers of Green Bonds. For example, the members of The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which includes firms that collectively have over US$130 trillion under management, would likely be buyers of these bonds.
17) Overview webpage: Combining Technologies to Produce Reliable Carbon-Negative Energy, Short-link: climatesan.org/ctne