Current availability assessment of biomass resource in China and Canada and the potential for bilateral biomass trade to develop biomass co-firing in Chinese coal power plants

To achieve the Paris climate objectives of maintaining global warming below 2°C or 1.5 ℃, extensive application of negative CO2 emission technologies, especially the bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is required. Biomass based energy production is considered carbon netural over life cycle as the CO2 emitted during combustion is taken up the plants during their growth. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate the potential of BECCS in major emission countries.

In China and Canada, electricity produced from biomass through co-firing can play a significant role in reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. Co-firing refers to combustion of fossil fuels with biomass. In addition with carbon capture and storage (CCS), it could result in negative GHG mitigation. Hence BECCS is one of the important technologies for both the countries. In China, no previous studies did systematic assessments of the biomass potential for co-firing plants, neither have they addressed whether the biomass availability and spatial distribution can match the requirements of different coal-fired power plants with various assumptions of co-firing levels. On the other hand, Canada has abundant and high-quality biomass resources, so assessing the potential of China-Canada bilateral biomass trade could provide alternatives for China to make up for the lack of biomass quantity and quality. In addition, BECCS is still a developing concept in Canada and has not been investigated.

In this context, this project aims to gather the research groups from Tsinghua and Ualberta to carry out a joint study on the above issues and develop a framework for evaluating the socio-economic and the environmental impacts of biomass co-firing power plants with CCS, which would support further integrated impact assessment of BECCS.