Prospects for bioenergy with carbon capture & storage (BECCS) in the United States pulp and paper industry†
The pulp and paper industry utilizes more biomass for stationary heat and power than any other industry in the United States. In total, pulp and paper mills in the US emit ∼150 million metric tons of CO2 each year, of which 77% is biogenic. Thus, the pulp and paper industry has significant potential to indirectly remove atmospheric CO2 through bioenergy with CO2 capture and storage (BECCS). In addition, avenues for CO2 utilization exist in pulp and paper processing. Here, we analyze the technical and economic potential of integrating carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies at pulp and paper mills in the US through top-down, industry-wide screening and bottom-up, chemical process modeling techniques. We estimate costs of capturing and transporting CO2 from pulp and paper mills using post-combustion amine chemisorption in the year 2026 with application of the existing federal tax credit for carbon capture and sequestration (Section 45Q). Costs are highly dependent on scenario-specific details, such as waste heat or power generation at the mill, idling or stranded assets, and proximity to suitable geologic storage opportunities. Some CCS implementation scenarios produce significant economic returns for pulp and paper mills, indicating a near-term opportunity to accelerate CCS in the US. Finally, we qualitatively assess alternative techniques for CO2 capture through process innovation, and opportunities for CO2 utilization at pulp and paper mills.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2017 Energy and Environmental Science HOT articles