During the Paris Climate Agreement, it was decided to control global temperature surges to two-degrees more than pre-industrial levels. This is going to take a lot of effort and a transition to carbon-neutral energy sources similar to wind and solar energies. A lot of carbon-negative technologies would be needed to actually reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the overall atmosphere.
Through various discussions it has been agreed upon that, this is vital especially in the region of China. Researchers have worked in collaboration with other colleagues and Tsinghua University in Beijing to analyze practical and financial options for China to further increase the possibility of carbon-negative electric power generation.
Michael McElroy, the Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard mentioned “This paper is creating a bold proposition that will empower China to move near negative carbon power but it can do so in a cost-effective viable way,”
Xi Lu, associate professor in the School of Environment at Tsinghua University, mentioned that the system gives a carbon-negative alternative that produces electricity in the long duration and brings other important near terms that would reduce the air pollution in China.
The strategy followed by McElroy, Lu, and colleagues would combine two important energy forms of carbon capture and storage and coal-bioenergy gasification.
Bioenergy is one of the best ways to achieve the same. Bioenergy is received from plants, the best CO2 scrubbers on the plant. We all are aware of carbon being stored in plants and conversion in oxygen. The carbon stored with the help of combustion can be converted into energy, and produce ethanol through a process of gasification. Which further transforms carbon-rich materials into hydrogen, carbon monoxide for fuels and other industrial chemicals.
Another popular strategy for controlling negative carbon power is the method of transforming biomass into energy. And then capture and store the waste CO2. This is popularly known as BECCS – bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. The issue here is it is not efficient and needs large amounts of space to cultivate the plants. That would be required to power the planet. This is likely to in-turn cause a shortage of food and water across the globe.
The main components of the strategy are to use residue from crops as biofuels. The major source of air pollution in China is generated by seasonal agricultural fires. This is when farmers set fire to their fields to clear stubble after harvest. Gathering that stubble and using it as biofuels would help in the reduction of CO2. But considerably improve the quality of air in the country. Gasification leads to easier removal of air pollutants from the waste stream.
Various researchers agree that developing a system that collects the biomass and delivers to power plants will take time. However, there is no need for immediate implementation of the same.