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Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for five front-end engineering design (FEED) studies that will leverage existing zero- or low-carbon energy to supply direct air capture (DAC) projects, combined with dedicated and reliable carbon storage. DAC is a process that separates carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air. When the separated CO2 is safely and permanently stored deep underground or converted to be used in value-added products like concrete, DAC is part of a carbon dioxide removal approach. The selected studies will advance the evaluation of DAC technology coupled to durable storage—both of which could play a critical role in conjunction with aggressive decarbonization in combatting the climate crisis and achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“These studies lay a critical foundation for technology demonstrations that will lead to responsible, effective, and affordable deployment of direct air capture as we seek to address hard to decarbonize sectors in addition to legacy impacts of fossil fuel production and use,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of FECM Dr. Jennifer Wilcox. “Looking forward, resources authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make it possible for us to prove these technologies out at scale and accelerate their deployment while providing good-paying jobs as our nation continues its transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

The following studies will provide a better understanding of system costs and performance, as well as business case options for existing DAC technologies coupled to durable storage that are capable of removing a minimum of 5,000 tonnes per year net CO2 from the air and are co-located with domestic zero- or low-carbon thermal energy sourced from geothermal or nuclear power plants and low-grade heat from industrial facilities:

  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois) will leverage thermal energy from the Brawley Geothermal Plant in Brawley, California, for a DAC system developed by Climeworks that will separate CO2 from ambient air, and is strategically located near a proposed geologic storage site. Award amount: $2,495,197
  • Constellation (Baltimore, Maryland) will use a DAC system developed by Carbon Engineering, integrated with an existing light water nuclear reactor at Constellation’s Byron Generating Station in Byron, Illinois, to separate CO2 from ambient air and transport the CO2 for permanent geologic storage. Award amount: $2,500,000 
  • Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, Ohio) will leverage available thermal energy from Southern Company’s Joseph M. Farley nuclear power plant in Columbia, Alabama, for a DAC system developed by AirCapture LLC that will separate CO2 from ambient air for off-site geologic storage. Award amount: $2,499,178
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois) will use the DAC and CO2 conversion technologies developed by CarbonCapture Inc. and CarbonCure, respectively, in an advanced DAC and utilization system coupled to CO2 conversion at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works in Gary, Indiana, to separate CO2 from ambient air and convert the CO2 into concrete products. Award amount: $3,459,554
  • AirCapture LLC (Pine Plains, New York) will execute its advanced DAC system at Nutrien’s Kennewick Fertilizer Operations facility in Kennewick, Washington, to separate CO2 from ambient air and convert the CO2 into value-added chemicals. Award amount: $2,934,380

This funding opportunity was a collaborative effort among DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), Office of Nuclear Energy, and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office. The selected projects will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and will support FECM’s Carbon Dioxide Removal and Conversion programs.   

A detailed list of the selected projects can be found here.  

Also, save July 20 and 21, 2022 on your calendar for the virtual Carbon Negative Shot Summit, when you’ll be able to learn more about DAC with durable storage and other carbon dioxide removal approaches. The Summit is a two-day event centered on Carbon Negative Shot, DOE’s all-hands-on-deck call for innovation in technologies and approaches that will remove CO2 from the atmosphere by capturing and durably storing it at gigatonne scales for less than $100/net metric ton of CO2-equivalent.

FECM funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial sources, to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and to mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use. Priority areas of technology work include point-source carbon capture, carbon dioxide conversion, carbon dioxide removal, dedicated and reliable carbon storage and transport, hydrogen with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical mineral production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.

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