08 October 2012

Bioenergy plus carbon capture and storage: Options for Indonesia

By coupling bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, a combination known as BECCS, it might be possible to increase the energy supply and augment energy security without adding to the problems of climate change and air pollution.

group of researchers at BECCS workshop

group of researchers at BECCS workshop

 IIASA’s ESM program leader Michael Obersteiner gave a keynote speech at a high-level workshop from 21 to 24 September in Jakarta, Indonesia, which was co-chaired by IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management researchers Florian Kraxner and Sabine Fuss.

At the workshop, Obersteiner spoke about the need for immediate action in stabilizing greenhouse gases, and the potential of BECCS to contribute to the solutions. Climate change carries many risks for economies and societies, says Obersteiner. Like the US banking system, he argues, the climate is a system that is “too big to fail.” In his talk, Obersteiner presented research showing that BECCS is a key component to reaching emission targets.  

Fuss provided an overview of the research priorities that came forth from the first BECCS workshop, which was held at IIASA in November 2011. Among other issues, she discussed some of the uncertainties related to BECCS, helping to define what research is needed. For example, biomass, the feedstock for biofuels and other forms of bioenergy competes with other land uses. It is not yet clear how much bioenergy can be produced in a sustainable way. The costs of carbon capture and storage (CCS) also remain unclear, as do impacts on people and the environment. 

Kraxner illustrated how real-case modeling for an optimal distribution of green-field BECCS units can be carried out with IIASA’s BeWhere Model, showing a first set of maps. While considering demand by population and sustainable feedstock supply from e.g. special forest areas, as well as considering biomass trade and competition on and between the Indonesian islands, the best location with respect to bioenergy generation and direct carbon storage in suitable geological formations can be identified.

Indonesia, one of IIASA’s newest members, is a quickly developing country that is committed to sustainable energy, because of the benefits for the environment, the economy, social equality, and energy security. The workshop aimed to explore the role these technologies could play in Indonesia’s energy and climate policy. The workshop was organized by the IEA in cooperation with the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) and President’s Delivery Unit for Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), the School of Business and Management at Bandung Institute of Technology (SBMITB) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

At the workshop, the need for Indonesia to develop a targeted bioenergy policy considering BECCS has been highlighted. Relevant research priorities including integrated assessment and the inclusion of local and socio-economic issues such as rural development will be one way to address such policy needs. Furthermore, UKP4 together with MEMR plans to embrace these needs in next year’s work program of the ministries by founding a cross-ministerial working group for bioenergy and CCS, involving a broad field of stakeholders. At the global level, Indonesia envisages to initiate an international BECCS governmental network.

A follow-up meeting with IEA and UKP4 will be held during the IIASA Conference in Vienna from 24-26 October. This meeting will aim to identify the optimal future research and funding strategies along the lines discussed in Jakarta. The researchers also plan to hold a systems modeling workshop on bioenergy in Indonesia as well as to continue the BECCS high-level workshop series in Brazil during 2013.

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Last edited: 08 October 2012


Florian Kraxner

Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 233

Sabine Fuss

Guest Research Scholar Integrated Biosphere Futures Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 423

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313