The US Department of Energy invests $3.5 billion in carbon capture initiatives

The US Department of Energy invests $3.5 billion in carbon capture initiatives ...

On Thursday, the US Department of Energy announced a significant investment in direct air carbon removal initiatives that might help our warming planet deal with climate change. These initiatives would function like giant vacuum cleaners that drain carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in rocks or long-life chemicals.

A promising Notice of Intent

The Department of Energy released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to support the bipartisan infrastructure laws'' $3.5 billion program for the development of these projects. The Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program will include four large-scale regional direct air capture hubs.

These hubs will also provide excellent payable jobs, prioritize community engagement and environmental justice, and play a crucial role in accomplishing President Biden''s goal of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.

In a press release, the UN''s latest climate report stated that eliminating carbon pollution from the air through direct air capture and safely storing it is a vital weapon in our efforts to overcome the climate catastrophe.

President Bidens proposes that innovative technologies will not only make our carbon-free future a reality, but also assist the United States as a net-zero leader while also creating good-paying jobs for a rapidly shifting clean energy workforce.

According to the DOE, these types of projects will need to be carried at the gigaton scale in order to reduce constant emissions. "To balance this point, one gigaton of subsurface sequestered CO2 is equivalent to the total emissions from the United States light-duty vehicle fleet, which accounts for approximately 250 million vehicles driven in one year."

Past projects have failed

However, this initiative should be approached with caution as some previous projects have failed. In January 2022, a study by Global Witness revealed that Shell''s Quest facility, which had been designed to collect carbon emissions from oil sands operations and store them underground to reduce carbon emissions, produced more greenhouse gas emissions.

It was estimated that since 2015, it had pushed the release of five million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but that it had also released 7.5 million tonnes. To put the concept into perspective, Global Witness stated that Shells had the same carbon footprint as 1.2 million gasoline-powered automobiles per year.

Details on the funding of the DOE have been not disclosed, but in a press release, the "hubs will have the capacity to capture and then permanently store at least one million metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year, either from a single unit or from multiple interconnected units."

In a time in which climate change mitigation is very important, this is fantastic news. Time will tell how well the projects perform, but the funding is without a doubt a step in the right direction.

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