Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is crucial in many stringent climate scenarios. Although irrigation can enhance BECCS potential, where and to what extent it can enhance global BECCS potential are unknown when constrained by preventing additional water stress and suppressing withdrawal of nonrenewable water resources. With a spatially explicit representation of bioenergy crop plantations and water cycle in an internally consistent model framework, we identified the irrigable bioenergy cropland on the basis of the water resources reserve. Irrigation of such cropland enhanced BECCS potential by only 5–6% (<60–71% for unconstrained irrigation) above the rain-fed potential (0.82–1.99 Gt C yr−1) by the end of this century. Nonetheless, it limited additional water withdrawal (166–298 km3 yr−1), especially from nonrenewable water sources (16–20%), compared with unconstrained irrigation (1,392–3,929 km3 yr−1 and 73–78%). Our findings highlight the importance of irrigation constraints in global BECCS potential.
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The AIM/Hub and AIM/PLUM outputs are available from the website https://www-iam.nies.go.jp/aim/data_tools/aimssp/aimssp.html. The input meteorological data are available at http://h08.nies.go.jp. All datasets used in this study are also available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
The code and technical information about the H08 model are available at http://h08.nies.go.jp. The code used for the simulation is also available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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Z.A. and N.H. were supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (JPMEERF20202005 and JPMEERF15S11418) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan. T.H. and S.F. were supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (JPMEERF20211001) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan and the Sumitomo Foundation. T.H. was supported by the Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization (R-GIRO), Ritsumeikan University. We thank K. Takahashi, W. Wu and Y. Satoh for the discussion and technical support.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review Information Nature Sustainability thanks Vaibhav Chaturvedi and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Ai, Z., Hanasaki, N., Heck, V. et al. Global bioenergy with carbon capture and storage potential is largely constrained by sustainable irrigation. Nat Sustain 4, 884–891 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00740-4