Alexander Olsson, M.Sc in Chemical Engineering, is currently pursuing a Ph.D on the topic of Opening the portfolio of negative emissions technologies: A comprehensive study of social, techno-economic and ethical dimensions of biomass-based NETs in Sweden and Tanzania.
- My research topic is climate change policy with a special interest carbon sinks.
The political goal of phasing out fossil fuels from the district heating sector and the rest of the industry has led to a unique development in Sweden, where large amounts of biomass is currently being used for the production of heat and electricity, reducing the dependence on foreign import of fossil fuels. When climate policy now needs to take the next step in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, our project wants to draw attention to the possibilities of sequestering carbon dioxide in biomass and thus postponing biogenic emissions to the atmosphere. This is popularly called "negative emissions" or more specifically carbon dioxide removal. Is there a near-term possibility to utilise biomass to store carbon dioxide in wood products or perhaps in the form of biochar? Or do we have to wait for the future technology Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS)? Are Sweden's municipalities interested in using wood products and biochar to meet their own local climate goals?
Sweden previously had a large industry that produced wood based panels from sawdust and other by-products from sawmills, but this sawdust is mainly used for incineration at present. Can the industry be stimulated through policy instruments to once again use by-products to increase the amount of carbon stored in wood products?
Interest in biochar in tropical countries such as Tanzania is growing as it can be used as a soil amendment in agriculture. At the same time, biochar is a stable carbon sink that possibly keeps carbon dioxide away from the atmosphere for hundreds of years. In theme 2 of this project we will evaluate a biochar project in Tanzania to draw lessons for other similar projects and to contribute to the discussion on climate projects in countries in the global south.
The project is financed by Formas.
Olsson A, Grönkvist S, Lind M, Yan J, 2016. The elephant in the room – A comparative study of uncertainties in carbon offsets. Environ Sci Policy 56, 32–38. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2015.11.004
Olsson A, Campana PE, Lind M, Yan JY, 2015. PV Water Pumping for Carbon Sequestration in Dry Land Agriculture. Energy Convers Manag, Article in Press. doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2014.12.056
Olsson A, Campana PE, Lind M, Yan JY, 2014. Potential for carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change by irrigation of grasslands. Appl Energy 136, 1145–1154. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.08.025