Search site

Centre for Integrated Energy Research

Jayne Windeatt - Biorecro Placement

Jayne did a placement with Biorecro who are a small firm based in Stockholm, Sweden. Their area of business is developing the commercial market for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) projects through the sale of carbon credits. Biorecro are currently seeking to secure funding to create BECCS projects. The target base for funding is currently local small scale investors, and they hope to soon begin seeking funding from larger sources such as venture capitalists. They hope to also secure funding through ventures such as the Virgin Earth Challenge (Virgin, 2007) which will see £25M funding given to a project to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere. There are currently 11 projects remaining on the shortlist and Biorecro’s BECCS project is one of these.The next step is for a ‘jury’ to assess the remaining projects and choose the winner to receive the funding. Other projects include artificial trees and biochar sequestration projects. The ‘jury’ members include Richard Branson, James Lovelock, Al Gore and other prominent members of the climate change movement.

Biorecro

During her three weeks with Biorecro Jayne's main work was concentrated on writing a scientific report on BECCS and biochar (negative emissions technologies). Biorecro initially wanted the report to focus mainly on the energy perspective of the two technologies but after some consideration and discussion it was decided that a more holistic report would better suit the project and her wider research. Jayne therefore broadened the scope of the report to include other considerations such as economics, ecosystem benefits/drawbacks and infrastructure requirements. This was done because although energy (biofuels and biogas) are produced during the biochar production process, the main benefits of biochar for CO2 sequestration are more diverse than just bioenergy production. This decision was also taken due to her awareness of the position of a University of Leeds research scientist working within a business environment.

Other work at Biorecro involved literature reviews to find facts and figures, from reliable sources, for reports released by Biorecro. Although Jayne was happy to do this for the information required, this process highlighted to her the ability of actors with specific interests to ‘handpick’ information to their specific needs. This helped her for writing and publishing research in future, to make sure that the research findings are clearly presented and not easily misconstrued.

Jayne found her time at Biorecro to be interesting and informative. It was interesting to see the direction taken by a small company promoting a low carbon technology. This gave her great insight into the difficulties and challenges of progressing a technology from the development stage to niche and commercial markets. Jayne learnt a great deal about how carbon markets (both voluntary and regulated) can offer incentives improve the viability of new technologies in a highly competitive market. Jayne found the omission of negative emissions from carbon markets to be interesting and challenging, as including them could greatly improve their viability but could also lead to fruition of the ‘moral hazard’ argument. Jayne also learnt much about wider issues associated with carbon markets, both in developing them to successfully achieve their goals, and in operating a business within the bounds of them and achieving profitability.