Journal Articles.

Negative Emissions Technologies: Priorities for Research and Policy Design

The large-scale removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is likely to be important in maintaining temperature rise “well below” 2°C, and vital in achieving the most stringent 1.5°C target. Whilst various literature efforts have estimated the global potential of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) for a range of technologies with different degrees of certainty, regional bottlenecks for their deployment remain largely overlooked. We discuss the main technical, socio-economic and regulatory bottlenecks that have been scarcely investigated at regional level, and provide directions for further research. Read my paper in Frontiers in Climate here.

Structural Evolution of the UK Electricity System in a Below 2°C World

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5 degrees reasserted that avoiding catastrophic climate change would require deep decarbonisation of the global energy system, including the deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. This study investigates the potential role of two CDR technologies — bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air capture and storage (DACS) — in meeting the UK's emissions reductions targets. We show that to achieve power sector decarbonisation, a system dominated by firm and dispatchable low-carbon generators with BECCS or DACS to compensate for their associated emissions is significantly cheaper than a system dominated by intermittent renewables and energy storage. By offsetting CO2 emissions from cheaper thermal plants, thereby allowing for their continued utilisation in a carbon-constrained electricity system, BECCS and DACS can reduce the cost of decarbonisation. Allowing some this value transferred to accrue to NETs offers a potential route for their commercial deployment. Read my paper in Joule here.

The Role and Value of Negative Emissions Technologies Decarbonising the UK Energy System

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5 degrees reasserted that avoiding catastrophic climate change would require deep decarbonisation of the global energy system, including the deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. This study investigates the potential role of two CDR technologies — bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and direct air capture and storage (DACS) — in meeting the UK's emissions reductions targets. We show that to achieve power sector decarbonisation, a system dominated by firm and dispatchable low-carbon generators with BECCS or DACS to compensate for their associated emissions is significantly cheaper than a system dominated by intermittent renewables and energy storage. By offsetting CO2 emissions from cheaper thermal plants, thereby allowing for their continued utilisation in a carbon-constrained electricity system, BECCS and DACS can reduce the cost of decarbonisation. Allowing some this value transferred to accrue to NETs offers a potential route for their commercial deployment. Read my paper in the International Journal on Greenhouse Gas Control here.

The Implications of Delivering the UK's Paris Agreement Commitments on the Power Sector

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5 degrees reasserted that avoiding catastrophic climate change would require deep decarbonisation of the global energy system, including the deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. Integrated Assessment Models show that this will require extensive CDR from the atmosphere. For the EU, it is estimated that 20–70 GtCO2 of cumulative GGR by 2100 is required, all from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Depending on how the burden of CDR is shared, the UK would need to remove 2–6 GtCO2 from the atmosphere. This study investigates how the UK power system needs to transition until the end of the century to deliver the UK's commitments to the Paris Agreement. We find that until 2050, increased penetration of renewables, interconnection capacity and energy storage, alongside CCGT−CCS, is sufficient to stay on the required emissions trajectory. Between 2050 and 2100, however, the deployment of BECCS and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) is crucial to provide the CDR required. Read further insights from my paper in the International Journal on Greenhouse Gas Control here.

Closing the Carbon Cycle to Maximise Climate Change Mitigation: Power-to-Methanol vs. Power-to-Direct Air Capture

Climate change is largely attributed to the rise in greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use for industry and mobility since the Industrial Revolution. To avoid its potentially devastating consequences, there has been a recent push to decarbonise the economy. Significant strides have been made in the electricity system; renewable energy penetration (capacity relative to the whole system) is rapidly rising in some countries, including the UK. Renewable energy technologies (wind, solar power) are intermittent because of the variability of their supply. Consequently, incidences arise where renewable energy generation surpasses demand, storage capacity is filled and/or it is difficult to ramp (up or down) other low-carbon generators such as nuclear power. Renewable energy operators are therefore required to curtail their generation to maintain grid stability and operability. It has been suggested that this curtailed electricity can be used to achieve further mitigation by using it to power carbon capture and utilisation and storage (CCU) processes, e.g. converting CO2 - the most abundant greenhouse gas - into fuels. This study assesses the climate change mitigation potential of using curtailed electricity to produce methanol for use in gasoline-powered cars, and compares it to the mitigation achievable if the electricity was used to remove CO2 from the air directly via a novel technology known as direct air capture (DAC). Read my paper in Sustainable Energy & Fuels here.

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