United States: US Department of Energy’s Latest Earthshot Tackles Carbon Dioxide Removal
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On November 5, 2021, Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm announced the latest Earthshots from the US Department of Energy (DOE).1-the “Carbon Negative Shot” -with a new objective of removing gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing it sustainably for less than $ 100 / tonne of net CO2 equivalent. This is the first official U.S. carbon dioxide elimination (CDR) effort.
According to the DOE announcement, “four performance elements will define the technologies the DOE will advance through the Carbon Negative Shot.” These are indicated as:
- A reduced cost of CDR to less than $ 100 / net metric ton of CO2 equivalent for capture and storage;
- Robust accounting for life cycle emissions (i.e.[ing]emissions created during the operation and construction of the disposal technology are taken into account);
- High quality and durable storage with proven costs for monitoring, reporting and verification for at least 100 years; and
- Activate[ing] disposal required on a gigaton scale.
CDR is defined by the DOE as “a wide range of approaches that capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere and store it sustainably in geological, bio-based and oceanic reservoirs or in value-added products to create negative emissions”. The announcement also noted that “[n]At the outset, all climate and energy models that reach net zero point to the need to focus in the short term on developing and deploying CDRs to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. ”
Accordingly, the ad states, “[b]By mid-century, CDR will need to be deployed on a gigaton scale. respond to the urgent needs of the climate crisis. “
The DOE also provided CDR FAQs, a Carbon Negative Shot infographic, and a Carbon Negative Shot fact sheet.
Subsequently, on November 9, 2021, the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced its intention to fund “cost-shared research and development to accelerate the large-scale deployment” of capture and of carbon storage (CCS) and CDR, stating that these are essential to meet the Biden administration’s goal of net carbon emissions by 2050. Projects will be selected under the initiative DOE’s CarbonSAFE (CarbonSAFE) to develop geological storage sites that can store a minimum of 50+ million tonnes of CO2.
1 The first Earthshot-Hydrogen Shot-is described in our legal update of June 7, 2021 “In its first ‘Energy Earthshot’, the US Department of Energy launches its ‘Hydrogen Shot’ initiative.” The second Earthshot – Long-Duration Storage Shot – was announced on July 16, 2021.
2 “To put this in perspective,” reads the DOE announcement, “one gigaton of CO2 sequestered underground is equivalent to the annual emissions of the US fleet of light vehicles, or the equivalent of about 250 million vehicles conducted in one year “.
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