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CO2 Grants For Chemical Plants

DOE is making $1.3 billion available to nonenergy companies for demonstration projects

by Jeffrey W. Johnson
June 15, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 24

Credit: Shutterstock
Chemical plants, like the one shown, are eligible for grants to support demonstration projects to capture CO2 and sequester it underground.
Credit: Shutterstock
Chemical plants, like the one shown, are eligible for grants to support demonstration projects to capture CO2 and sequester it underground.

Chemical companies and other industrial sources of greenhouse gas emissions are eligible for $1.3 billion in grants for large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) demonstration projects under a Department of Energy program announced on June 8.

Industrial sources generate some 19% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but DOE funding support for CCS projects has gone primarily to coal-fired electric power generators. The June 8 announcement, however, is specifically directed to industrial sources, including chemical companies, refineries, cement plants, steel and aluminum producers, manufacturing facilities, and some power plants that use petroleum coke and waste as fuel rather than coal or natural gas.

"We are happy to see that DOE is funding industrial CCS projects," says Timothy Brown, a spokesman with global engineering firm Alstom Power. Alstom has several CCS demonstration projects around the world, but only two are at industrial sites—a Dow Chemical facility in West Virginia and an oil refinery in Norway.

Possible grant recipients cannot be primarily electricity generators, DOE says in its funding-opportunity announcement. Plants are ineligible if their electricity power output is greater than 50% of their total energy output and if they rely on coal to meet more than 55% of their feedstock needs.

DOE's targets for the grants, the announcement says, are projects that are integrated into the plant's operations and are designed to capture and sequester 1 million tons of CO2 per plant per year by 2015. At least 20% of the project funding must be provided by the company.

The same announcement also offers $100 million in funding for demonstrations of beneficial uses of CO2, such as using it to grow algae or converting it to fuel or chemicals.

Despite the size of the billion-dollar-plus offering, DOE did not publicize the new grants through its various press offices. Several chemical companies, however, tell C&EN they are quite interested in the announcement. They include Eastman Chemical, which is in the early stages of planning for a CCS coal-gasification project, and Dow, which, along with Alstom, is beginning a CO2-capture project at its South Charleston, W.Va., site. Dow's project proceeded without government support (C&EN, April 6, page 5).

More information about the funding opportunity is available at Applications are due Aug. 7.



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