Biden has invested $257 million in carbon capture tech

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $251 million for carbon capture and storage projects in seven states, aimed at reducing planet-warming pollution from power plants and other industrial facilities.

The announcement represents a vote of confidence in the government’s new technology, which proponents, mostly from the oil and gas industries, say will play a big role in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, many environmentalists note that the technology is far from scale and argue that focusing on it will distract from established renewable energy solutions.

Among the direct investments announced Wednesday, billions more were allocated 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 demonstrate that the technology can significantly help combat climate change.

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

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

The projects are funded through the US Department of Energy, with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocates $12 billion for carbon management projects. Awardees include universities, a major oil corporation, and come from several states, such as 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 the capacity to hold at least 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, a fraction if how much is put into the atmosphere. The US will emit about 5.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, according to the Environmental Protection agency.

One of the awardees is BP, which received $33.4 million for two sites along the Gulf Coast of Texas. The remaining funding is for three studies on 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 are complementary new rules on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants notified by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA said one way power plants can bring their emissions under the new limits is to use carbon capture technology.

Much of the cost of deploying carbon capture is the investment in equipment to capture the carbon dioxide, Deich said. Without a place to transport or store carbon, it is difficult for companies to justify increasing the capabilities of plants. In expanding transportation and storage options, government investments aim to encourage companies to invest in carbon capture technology.

Under the Biden administration, the federal government is encouraging companies to build infrastructure for capturing, transporting and storing carbon. A tax credit That’s part of the Inflation Reduction Act that incentivizes investments in carbon capture and storage projects California, Wyoming and Alaska.

“Deployment of safe and permanent geologic CO2 storage at scale is necessary to meet midcentury climate targets and today’s funding announcement wisely targets projects that can store at least 50 million metric tons of CO2,” said Jessie Stolark, executive director of the Carbon Capture Coalition, in a statement.

While oil and gas corporations and carbon capture industry groups say the technology is essential to America’s overall decarbonization efforts, opponents note it is far from scale, casting doubt on what it will greatly help combat climate change. They are also worried that large-scale investment in this technology will only delay investment in renewable energy such as solar and wind.

“We are heading for a global catastrophe, and there is no luxury of time or resources to waste on speculative solutions like CCS, especially when they are already proven solutions,” said Basav Sen, the director of climate justice policy for the Institute for Policy Studies , a progressive think tank.

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