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Greenhouse Gases

Point-source CO₂ capture gets $2.5 billion in US funds

US Department of Energy opens funding opportunities with Inflation Reduction Act money

by Craig Bettenhausen
March 1, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 8


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has opened $2.52 billion in funding opportunities for carbon-capture projects. The money, which comes from the Inflation Reduction Act passed last summer, is split between $1.7 billion for commercial-scale demonstration projects and $820 million for large-scale pilot installations of emerging carbon-capture technologies.

Big emitters
The chemical industry is the third-largest point-source emitter of greenhouse gases in the US, according to 2021 emissions data submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
A pie shows that power plants produce 64% of of US greenhouse gas emissions and chemical plants produce about 7%.
Source: The EPA's Facility Level Information on Greenhouse Gases Tool, Note: Percentages do not total 100% because of rounding. EPA classifies ethanol within "other."

For the larger pot of money, the DOE will pay for up to half of six projects using carbon-capture technology that has already been tested at pilot scale. Chemical plants are eligible to compete for two slots aimed at industrial facilities, though ethanol and hydrogen production are excluded unless they are part of a larger integrated process. Plants in this category must run at least partially on coal or natural gas and must capture, transport, and store a minimum of 300,000 metric tons (t) of carbon dioxide per year.

The program will also support projects designed to capture 90% of the CO2 emissions at two coal and two natural gas power plants. A minimum tonnage was not specified for these power generation categories.

For the $820 million tranche, the DOE will cover up to 70% of the cost of up to 10 large-scale pilot installations. For this funding opportunity, that means capturing at least 75,000 t of CO2 per year from industrial facilities or 90% of the CO2 from power plants. The DOE says it expects proposals to use carbon-capture technologies that have been tested with 1,000 t per year prototypes and that it anticipates more rounds in the future for pilot projects.

The new DOE funding builds on other funding already announced by the Joe Biden Administration to total more than $10 billion for various types of carbon management, including direct air capture, according to Jessie Stolark, executive director of the nonprofit Carbon Capture Coalition. She describes the programs as vital in enabling carbon capture to reach scales that can make a difference to the climate. “Carbon management technologies have an essential role in meeting midcentury emissions reductions goals while ensuring the long-term viability of key domestic industries,” she says.

Full applications are due May 23 for the demonstration-scale projects and June 21 for the pilot-scale projects.



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