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Biden is investing $257 million into carbon capture tech

Biden is investing $257 million into carbon capture tech

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $251 million for carbon capture and storage projects in seven states, in an effort to reduce global warming pollution from power plants and other industrial facilities.

The announcement represents a government vote of confidence in the nascent technology, which proponents, often from the oil and gas industries, say could have a huge role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, many environmentalists note that the technology is far from scale and argue that focusing on it distracts attention from established renewable energy solutions.

Between the direct investments announced Wednesday, additional billions from legislation and public statements by President Biden and the US climate envoy John Kerrythe government is increasing pressure on the carbon capture and storage industry to show that the technology can make a significant contribution to tackling climate change.

“We’re trying to get commercial take-off in the carbon management industry as a whole,” said Noah Deich, deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Energy’s Office of Carbon Management.

Carbon capture and storage involves removing carbon dioxide, either from the pollution source or from the air in general, and storing it deep underground. In some cases, carbon dioxide is transported across states in pipelines and stored in facilities and used for other things.

The projects are funded by the US Department of Energy, with funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which has earmarked $12 billion for carbon management projects. Winners include universities, a major oil company, and hail from several states, such as Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Wyoming.

The bulk of the money, $242 million, is for nine large-scale new or expanded carbon storage projects capable of holding at least 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a tiny fraction of the quantity released into the atmosphere. The United States released about 5.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

One of the winners is BP, which is receiving $33.4 million for two sites along the Gulf Coast of Texas. The rest of the funding is for three studies on how to transport carbon dioxide from power plants, ethanol facilities and other industrial operations to sites for reuse or permanent storage.

Deich said the investments complement new rules on greenhouse gas emissions power plants announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA said one way power plants can bring their emissions below the new limits is to deploy carbon capture technology.

A big part of the cost of deploying carbon capture is the investment in equipment to extract the carbon dioxide, Deich said. Without a place to transport or store the carbon, it’s hard for companies to justify adding capacity to factories. By expanding transportation and storage options, government investments aim to incentivize businesses to invest in carbon capture technology.

Under the Biden administration, the federal government encouraged companies to build infrastructure to capture, transport and store carbon. A tax credit which was part of the Cut Inflation Act encouraged investment in carbon capture and storage projects in California, Wyoming And Alaska.

“The deployment of safe and permanent geological storage of CO2 at large scale is necessary to achieve mid-century climate goals and today’s funding announcement wisely focuses on projects that can store at least 50 million tonnes of CO2,” Jessie Stolark, executive director of the Carbon Capture Coalition, said in a statement.

While oil and gas companies and carbon-capturing industry groups say the technology is crucial to America’s overall decarbonization efforts, opponents note that it’s far from large-scale, which puts questioning how much it can actually help in the fight against climate change. They also worry that large-scale investments in these technologies will simply set back investments in renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

“We are heading for a global catastrophe and we do not have the luxury of wasting time or resources on speculative solutions such as CCS, especially when proven solutions already exist,” said Basav Sen, director of the Climate Justice Policy from the Institute for Policy Studies. , a progressive think tank.

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