Administration Invests in Carbon Capture Projects

New funding increases pressure on industry
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2023 6:46 PM CDT
Administration Invests in Carbon Capture Projects
A liquid carbon dioxide containment unit stands outside the fabrication building of Glenwood Mason Supply Co. last month in the Brooklyn borough of New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $251 million in funding for carbon capture and storage projects in seven states, aiming to reduce planet-warming pollution from power plants and other industrial facilities. The announcement represents a vote of confidence by the government in the nascent technology, which proponents—often from oil and gas industries—say could have a huge role in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, the AP reports, many environmentalists note that the technology is far from scale and argue that focusing on it distracts from established renewable energy solutions.

With the direct investments announced Wednesday, billions more earmarked from legislation, and public statements by President Biden and US Climate Envoy John Kerry, the government is increasing pressure on the carbon capture and storage industry to show that the technology can significantly help combat climate change. "We're trying to get commercial liftoff in the carbon management industry as a whole," said Noah Deich of the Department of Energy's Office of Carbon Management. Carbon capture and storage involves removing carbon dioxide, either from the source of pollution or from the air at large, and storing it deep underground. In some instances, the carbon dioxide is transported across states through pipelines and stored at facilities and used for other things.

The projects are funded through the Department of Energy, with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which set aside $12 billion for carbon management projects, per the AP. The awardees include universities and one major oil corporation, and they come from states including Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Wyoming. The bulk of the money, $242 million, is going toward nine new or expanded large-scale carbon storage projects with capacity to hold at least 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a tiny fraction of how much is put into the atmosphere. The US released about 5.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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One awardee is BP, which is receiving $33.4 million for two sites along the Gulf Coast in Texas. The rest of funding is for three studies into how to transport carbon dioxide from power plants, ethanol facilities, and other industrial operations to locations for reuse or permanent storage. Deich said the investments complement new rules on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants announced by the EPA. The agency said that one way power plants can bring their emissions under the new limits is by deploying carbon capture technology. The Biden administration has been encouraging companies to build infrastructure for capturing, transporting, and storing carbon. A tax credit that was part of the Inflation Reduction Act has incentivized investments in carbon capture and storage projects in California, Wyoming and Alaska.

(Read more Biden administration stories.)

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