Comparative life cycle assessment of biomass co-firing plants with carbon capture and storage

Wouter Schakel*, Hans Meerman, Alireza Talaei, Andrea Ramírez, André Faaij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Combining co-firing biomass and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in power plants offers attractive potential for net removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. In this study, the impact of co-firing biomass (wood pellets and straw pellets) on the emission profile of power plants with carbon capture and storage has been assessed for two types of coal-fired power plants: a supercritical pulverised coal power plant (SCPC) and an integrated gasification combined cycle plant (IGCC). Besides, comparative life cycle assessments have been performed to examine the environmental impacts of the combination of co-firing biomass and CCS. Detailed calculations on mass balances of the inputs and outputs of the power plants illustrate the effect of the different content of pollutants in biomass on the capture unit. Life cycle assessment results reveal that 30% co-firing biomass and applying CCS net negative CO2 emissions in the order of 67-85g/kWh are obtained. The impact in all other environmental categories is increased by 20-200%. However, aggregation into endpoint levels shows that the decrease in CO2 emissions more than offsets the increase in the other categories. Sensitivity analyses illustrate that results are most sensitive to parameters that affect the amount of fuel required, such as the efficiency of the power plant and assumptions regarding the supply chains of coal and biomass. Especially, assumptions regarding land use allocation and carbon debt of biomass significantly influence the environmental performance of BioCCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-467
Number of pages27
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2014


  • BioCCS
  • Biomass
  • Co-firing
  • IGCC
  • LCA
  • Pulverised coal plant
  • valorisation


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