eighth of the UK was devoted to the production of energy crops which
were then used for heating or for combined heat and power. If instead we
directed all these crops to power stations with carbon capture and storage
– the “clean-coal” plants that featured in three of the plans – then the
amount of extra CO2 captured would be about 1 t of CO2 per year per person.
If the municipal and agricultural waste incinerators were located at
clean-coal plants too so that they could share the same chimney, perhaps
the total captured could be increased to 2 t CO2 per year per person. This
arrangement would have additional costs: the biomass and waste might
have to be transported further; the carbon-capture process would require
a significant fraction of the energy from the crops; and the lost building-
heating would have to be replaced by more air-source heat pumps. But, if
carbon-neutrality is our aim, it would be worth planning ahead by seeking
to locate new clean-coal plants with waste incinerators in regions close to
potential biomass plantations.
If you don’t like these plans, I’m not surprised. I agree that there is something
unpalatable about every one of them. Feel free to make another plan
that is more to your liking. But make sure it adds up!