BECCS - Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is a technology that combines bioenergy production with carbon capture and storage. It involves growing biomass, such as trees or energy crops, which absorb CO2 from the atmosphere during their growth. This biomass is then used to generate energy, typically through combustion or gasification. The resulting CO2 emissions are captured and permanently stored in geological formations underground, resulting in a net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Impact on climate action

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) offers a game-changing approach in climate action by harnessing biomass to generate energy while capturing CO2 emissions for storage underground. This innovation not only reduces atmospheric CO2 levels but also promotes sustainable energy production, significantly advancing global efforts to combat climate change.


BECCS integrates several key technologies and concepts:

  • Sustainable Biomass Production: The success of BECCS hinges on sustainable biomass production practices that ensure environmental integrity, biodiversity conservation, and responsible land use.
  • Bioenergy Conversion: Various technologies are used to convert biomass into energy, including combustion for electricity generation, gasification for producing biofuels, and anaerobic digestion for generating biogas.
  • Carbon Capture Technologies: BECCS utilizes proven carbon capture technologies, such as amine scrubbing or solid sorbent capture, to capture CO2 emissions from bioenergy plants.
  • Geological CO2 Storage: Captured CO2 is transported and injected into deep geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs or saline aquifers, for permanent storage.

TRL : 5-7 (While individual components of BECCS are mature, large-scale integrated BECCS projects are still in the demonstration phase).

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Bioenergy Feedstocks: Researchers are exploring the use of dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass and miscanthus, which offer high yields and require less land and water compared to traditional food crops.
  • Biochar Production: Combining biochar production with BECCS can further enhance carbon sequestration. Biochar, a stable charcoal-like material, can be produced from biomass and buried in soil for long-term carbon storage.
  • Integrated Biorefineries: These facilities can produce multiple products from biomass, including biofuels, biochemicals, and biomaterials, improving the economic viability of BECCS.
  • Direct Air Capture with Bioenergy (DAC-BECCS): This approach combines BECCS with direct air capture technology, further enhancing the potential for negative emissions.
  • CO2 Utilization in Bioenergy Processes: Exploring the use of captured CO2 as a feedstock for microalgae cultivation or other bio-based processes within the BECCS system can enhance efficiency and create additional value streams.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Sustainable Biomass Cultivation Methods
  • Advanced Bioenergy Feedstock Research
  • Biochar Integration for Enhanced Sequestration
  • Integrated Biorefinery Development
  • Optimization of Carbon Capture Techniques
  • Geological Storage Solutions
  • Demonstration Projects Scaling
  • Dedicated Energy Crop Innovations
  • Miscanthus and Switchgrass Research
  • Biochar Soil Sequestration Strategies
  • Biorefinery Diversification
  • Carbon Utilization in Bioenergy Processes
  • Algae Cultivation with CO2 Utilization
  • Biomass Energy Efficiency Enhancements
  • Bioenergy Gasification Advancements
  • Anaerobic Digestion Optimization
  • Sustainable Land Use Practices

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Drax Group:
    • Technology Focus: Drax Group is a leading renewable energy company, primarily known for its biomass power stations. With BECCS, they aim to capture CO2 emissions generated during biomass combustion and store it underground, thereby mitigating carbon emissions.
    • Uniqueness: Drax Group’s uniqueness lies in its large-scale deployment of BECCS technology, which involves integrating carbon capture and storage with existing biomass power generation infrastructure.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments include energy utilities, policymakers, and industries seeking to decarbonize their operations. BECCS offers a way to reduce carbon emissions effectively while maintaining reliable energy production.
  • Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG):
    • Technology Focus: BIG focuses on developing and operating renewable energy infrastructure, including biomass and bioenergy projects. With BECCS, they likely invest in projects that incorporate carbon capture and storage technology to reduce emissions.
    • Uniqueness: BIG stands out for its specialized focus on bioenergy infrastructure, including BECCS projects. They might offer investment opportunities for stakeholders interested in sustainable energy solutions.
    • End-User Segments: BIG’s target segments could include investors, energy companies, and governments looking to support the transition to low-carbon energy sources. BECCS projects offer both environmental benefits and potential financial returns.
  • Aker Carbon Capture:
    • Technology Focus: Aker Carbon Capture specializes in carbon capture and storage technologies across various industries, including bioenergy. With BECCS, they likely provide advanced carbon capture systems tailored for biomass power plants.
    • Uniqueness: Aker Carbon Capture is known for its expertise in carbon capture technologies, offering innovative solutions for capturing CO2 emissions from industrial processes. They might focus on developing scalable and cost-effective systems for BECCS applications.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments include energy producers, industrial facilities, and governments seeking to implement carbon capture and storage solutions. Aker’s technologies enable these stakeholders to meet emissions reduction targets effectively.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Imperial College London:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at Imperial College London are at the forefront of advancing BECCS technology by optimizing the efficiency of bioenergy production and carbon capture processes. They are exploring innovative approaches to enhance the performance of biomass conversion technologies and improve the capture and storage of CO2 emissions.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Imperial College’s research distinguishes itself by integrating state-of-the-art engineering techniques with environmental science to develop sustainable BECCS solutions. They are investigating novel catalysts, reactor designs, and carbon capture materials to overcome technical challenges and maximize the CO2 storage capacity of biomass-derived fuels.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Imperial College has significant implications for mitigating climate change and transitioning towards a low-carbon economy. BECCS technology can be deployed in various sectors, including power generation, industrial processes, and transportation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at the University of Illinois are focusing on optimizing the integration of bioenergy systems with carbon capture and storage infrastructure. They are developing advanced modeling and simulation tools to assess the feasibility and scalability of BECCS technologies and identify optimal deployment strategies.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The University of Illinois’s research stands out for its interdisciplinary approach, combining expertise in engineering, agriculture, and policy analysis to address the complex challenges associated with BECCS implementation. They are exploring the synergies between bioenergy production, carbon sequestration, and land-use management to maximize environmental and socio-economic benefits.
    • End-use Applications: The research at the University of Illinois has implications for a wide range of stakeholders, including policymakers, industry leaders, and environmental advocates. BECCS technology can play a crucial role in decarbonizing energy systems, enhancing energy security, and creating new opportunities for rural development and sustainable agriculture.
  • Chalmers University of Technology:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at Chalmers University are pioneering innovative approaches to enhance the performance and scalability of BECCS systems. They are developing novel bioenergy conversion technologies, such as biomass gasification and anaerobic digestion, and integrating them with advanced CO2 capture and storage techniques.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Chalmers University’s research is characterized by its focus on system-level optimization and holistic sustainability assessment of BECCS solutions. They are investigating the environmental, economic, and social impacts of BECCS deployment, considering factors such as resource availability, land-use competition, and stakeholder preferences.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Chalmers University has practical implications for accelerating the transition towards a carbon-neutral society. BECCS technology can be deployed in various sectors, including energy production, waste management, and biofuels manufacturing, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change while promoting economic growth and social equity.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

While large-scale commercial BECCS projects are still in the demonstration phase, some smaller-scale implementations are operational:

  • Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) Project (U.S.): This project captures CO2 from an ethanol plant and stores it underground, demonstrating the feasibility of BECCS at the industrial scale.