Uncertainty of modelled bioenergy with carbon capture and storage due to variability of input data

Anita Shepherd* (Corresponding Author), Michael Martin, Astley Hastings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Uncertainty is inherent in modelled projections of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), yet sometimes treated peripherally. One source of uncertainty comes from different climate and soil inputs. We investigated variations in 70‐year UK projections of Miscanthus × giganteus (M × g), BECCS and environmental impacts with input data. We used cohort datasets of UKCP18 RCP8.5 climate projections and Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD) soil sequences, as inputs to the MiscanFor bioenergy model. Low annual yield occurred 1 in 10 years as a UK‐average but yield uncertainty varied regionally, especially south and east England. BECCS projections were similar among cohorts, with variation resulting from climate cohorts of the same database ensemble (3.99 ± 0.14 t C ha−1 year−1) larger than uncertainty resulting from soil sequences in each grid block (3.96 ± 0.03 t C ha−1 year−1). This is supported by annual time series, displaying variable annual climate and a close yield–BECCS–climate relationship but partial correspondence of yield and BECCS with maximal soil variability. Each HWSD soil grid square contains up to 10 ranked soil types. Predominant soil commonly has over 50% coverage, indicating why BECCS from combined soil sequences were not significantly different from BECCS using the dominant soil type. Mean BECCS from the full climate ensemble combined with the full soil sequences, over the current area of cropping limits in England and Wales, is 3.98 ± 0.14 t C ha−1 year−1. The bioenergy crop has a mean seasonal soil water deficit of 65.79 ± 4.27 mm and associated soil carbon gain of 0.22 ± 0.03 t C ha−1 year−1, with bioenergy feedstock calculated at 131 GJ t−1 y−1. The uncertainty is specific to the input datasets and model used. The message of this study is to ensure that uncertainty is accounted for when interpreting modelled projections of land use impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-707
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Change Biology. Bioenergy
Issue number4
Early online date3 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Open Access via Jisc Wiley Open Access Agreement

Funding information
Natural Environment Research Council, Grant/Award Number: NE/M019691/1; UK Research and Innovation, Grant/Award Number: EP/S029575/1
We were able to test climate and soil effects on BECCS, as part of the UKERC (UK Energy Research Centre) Phase 4 research programme, funded by UK Research and Innovation (EP/S029575/1). Model development was also made possible by ADVENT (ADdressing Valuation by the UK Natural environment Research Council (NE/M019691/1).


  • bioenergy
  • carbon capture
  • climate change
  • cohorts
  • HWSD soil sequences
  • MiscanFor
  • miscanthus
  • modelling
  • projection
  • uncertainty
  • projections


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