Nature – Mignone et al. (2024): Drivers and implications of alternative routes to fuels decarbonization in net-zero energy systems

Bryan K. Mignone, Leon Clarke, James A. Edmonds, Angelo Gurgel, Howard J. Herzog, Jeremiah X. Johnson, Dharik S. Mallapragada, Haewon McJeon, Jennifer Morris, Patrick R. O’Rourke, Sergey Paltsev, Steven K. Rose, Daniel C. Steinberg, Aranya Venkatesh IN: Nature Communications 15, 3938,

Energy transition scenarios are characterized by increasing electrification and improving efficiency of energy end uses, rapid decarbonization of the electric power sector, and deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies to offset remaining emissions. Although hydrocarbon fuels typically decline in such scenarios, significant volumes remain in many scenarios even at the time of net-zero emissions. While scenarios rely on different approaches for decarbonizing remaining fuels, the underlying drivers for these differences are unclear. Here we develop several illustrative net-zero systems in a simple structural energy model and show that, for a given set of final energy demands, assumptions about the use of biomass and CO2 sequestration drive key differences in how emissions from remaining fuels are mitigated.