Biden administration launches $3.5 billion program to capture carbon pollution from the air

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to fund the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $3.5 billion program to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution directly from the air. The Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program will support four large-scale, regional direct air capture hubs that each comprise a network of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects to help address the impacts of climate change, creating good-paying jobs and prioritizing community engagement and environmental justice. In addition to efforts to deeply decarbonize the economy through methods like clean power, efficiency, and industrial innovation, the widespread deployment of direct air capture technologies and CO2 transport and storage infrastructure plays a significant role in delivering on President Biden’s goal of achieving an equitable transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. 

Direct air capture is a process that separates CO2 from ambient air. The separated CO2 is then permanently stored deep underground or converted for use in long-life products like concrete that prevent its release back into the atmosphere. This differs from carbon capture systems at industrial facilities and power plants that prevent additional emissions from being released into the air in the first place. 

By midcentury, CDR will need to be deployed at the gigaton scale. To put this in perspective, one gigaton of subsurface sequestered CO2 is equivalent to the annual emissions from the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet—the equivalent of approximately 250 million vehicles driven in one year. 

Each of the projects selected for the Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program will demonstrate the delivery and storage or end use of removed atmospheric carbon. The hubs will have the capacity to capture and then permanently store at least one million metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually, either from a single unit or from multiple interconnected units. 

In the development and deployment of the four regional direct air capture hubs, DOE will also emphasize environmental justice, community engagement, consent-based siting, equity and workforce development, and domestic supply chains and manufacturing.  

For more information, read the NOI on FedConnect

To learn more about DAC and other CDR approaches, please also join DOE for the virtual Carbon Negative Shot Summit on July 20 and 21, 2022. The Summit will convene a diverse set of perspectives to discuss the development and deployment of CDR technologies and infrastructure in the United States, as well as explore justice and equity principles and workforce development opportunities. 

DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production to remove carbon dioxide 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, reliable carbon storage and transport, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website

DOE awards $2.5 million for direct air capture study at Constellation Nuclear Plant in Illinois

Read the company news release.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Constellation and its project partners to explore the benefits of constructing direct air capture (DAC) technology at the company’s Byron nuclear energy plant in Northern Illinois. While nuclear plants do not produce any carbon emissions, direct air capture would remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, a possible next-generation technology to help our nation combat the climate crisis.

Constellation, the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy, will partner with 1PointFive Inc., Worley Group Inc., Carbon Engineering Ltd., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to research the viability of DAC technology at the zero-emission Byron plant.

Technology to absorb CO₂ at power plants is promising

ISTC engineer Paul Nielsen stands beside the biphasic solvent system at the Abbott Power Plant in Champaign, IL.

by Lisa Sheppard, Prairie Research Institute

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) researchers have given the thumbs up to an innovative biphasic solvent system for its efficiency and effectiveness in absorbing CO₂ from flue gas in a coal-fired power plant at the University of Illinois (U of I).

With $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory, an ISTC team sought to validate the various advantages of a biphasic CO₂ absorption process (BiCAP) at a 40-kilowatt electric small pilot scale at the Abbott Power Plant on the U of I campus. The system was designed based on the testing results at the laboratory scale under a previous DOE cooperative agreement.

Previous laboratory testing has proved the biphasic solvent-based process concept and has shown that the technique can achieve greater than 90 percent capture efficiency and greater than 95 percent CO₂ purity and has the potential to significantly increase energy efficiency and reduce  CO₂ capture cost.

From the recent field testing, the team verified that their technology could achieve 95 percent efficiency in CO₂ capture, compared with 90 percent in conventional methods, with a 40 percent higher energy efficiency. The cost advantages have not yet been determined, but previous laboratory testing showed a 26 percent cost reduction. The system has also been shown to run continuously for two weeks, verifying that it can operate under Midwest winter weather conditions.

“The conventional CO₂ capture process has several disadvantages, and our goal was to reduce the carbon footprint and costs and increase the energy efficiency,” said Yongqi Lu, principal investigator. “These energy-efficiency advantages of the BiCAP system, coupled with reduced equipment sizes when scaled up for commercial systems, will lead to reductions in both capital and operating expenses.”

The BiCAP method uses biphasic solvent blends that can form and develop dual-liquid phases during CO₂ absorption. The solvents, which were tested and selected in previous DOE-funded studies, are highly resistant to degrading from either high temperatures or oxidative atmospheres. Also, less solvent is required for this process.

Although the focus of the study was on CO₂ capture from flue gas at coal-fired power plants, the BiCAP technology can be used in natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants as well, incorporating flue gas from natural gas, biomass, plastics, and other renewable materials.

“The exciting feature of this capture technology is its robust nature and ability to be used on a variety of flue gas sources. We are now ready for commercial partners to assist in moving this technology to the marketplace,” said Kevin OBrien, co-principal investigator for the project and director of ISTC.

Preliminary tests with synthetic NGCC flue gas made of air and bottled CO2 gas have been performed on the small pilot unit recently. Results revealed that a 95 percent CO2 removal rate could be achieved, and the energy use only slightly increased compared with that for the coal flue gas that contains more concentrated CO2.

The concept of biphasic solvents was developed as part of a dissertation research project in 2013–2015. From 2015 through 2018, screening of biphasic solvents and studies of proof of the BiCAP process concept were conducted at the laboratory scale with funding from DOE. After that, the small pilot system was designed, constructed, and tested at the Abbott Power Plant with continued DOE support.

The main research team for this project was transferred from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) to ISTC in January 2022. Now that the team has collected the data, the next steps are to complete a techno-economic analysis, then scale-up the technology for commercial use.

Media contact: Yongqi Lu, 217-244-4985, yongqilu@illinois.edu or
news@prairie.illinois.edu

This story first appeared on the Prairie Research Institute News Blog. Read the original story.

DOE invests $14 million to scale up direct air capture and storage technology, coupled to low-carbon energy resources

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 websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

New polymer membrane tech improves efficiency of carbon dioxide capture

Read the full story from North Carolina State University.

Researchers have developed a new membrane technology that allows for more efficient removal of carbon dioxide from mixed gases, such as emissions from power plants.

Climeworks raises $650 million to scale direct air capture capacity

Read the full story at ESG Today.

Zurich-based Direct Air Capture (DAC) startup Climeworks announced that it has raised CHF 600 million (nearly USD$650 million) in an equity funding round led by global private markets firm Partners Group and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. The funding will be used to scale Climework’s Direct Air Capture capacity.

Additional investors included Baillie Gifford, Carbon Removal Partners, Global Founders Capital, M&G, and Swiss Re.

These companies say their carbon pipelines would curb climate change. Farmers object

Read the full story from NPR.

Three companies want to build carbon capture pipelines through a large swatch of the Midwest they say will help curb climate change. Carbon capturing involves removing the carbon dioxide emissions from an industrial process and then piping to be stored elsewhere.

The construction of pipelines in the Midwest has been the topic of climate and landowner controversy for more than a decade. Both the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines made for years of debate over whether the U.S. should still be using crude oil with a warming climate.

These carbon-capture pipelines are much different.

Data from landmark Illinois Basin carbon storage project are now available

Injection start-up day at the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project. Pictured are project principal investigator Sallie Greenberg, second from right, and other project partners.

by Tricia Barker, Prairie Research Institute

The first-of-its-kind Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP), which concluded in 2021 after successfully demonstrating the safe geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) at an almost-commercial scale, is releasing datasets in two easily accessible locations.

Complete datasets are available through the U.S. Department of Energy’s EDX site. Curated datasets are also being released through CO2DataShare, an international open-access portal managed by SINTEF.

Over three years, approximately 1 million metric tons of CO2 captured from the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) ethanol production facility in Decatur, Illinois, were injected into the Mount Simon Sandstone, more than 2 km deep in the Illinois Basin. This carbon capture and storage (CCS) research and development project was carried out by the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC), one of seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – National Energy Technology Laboratory to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of CO2 geological storage as a mitigation tool to address global climate change. The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) at the University of Illinois was the principal investigator for and manager of the IBDP, with the Indiana Geological Survey (now the Indiana Geological and Water Survey) and the Kentucky Geological Survey as key partners. Other partners included ADM, Trimeric Corporation, and Schlumberger.

The infrastructure installed for the IBDP includes three deep wells: injection, monitoring, and geophysical. It also includes 17 shallow groundwater monitoring wells, microseismic monitoring with down-hole, four-component sensors in the injection well, an in-well geophysical monitoring array for repeat plume monitoring using vertical seismic profiling, a compression/dehydration facility, and a 1.9 km pipeline. The available data include information from pre-injection site characterization (2007-2011), injection and monitoring (2011-2014), and post-injection (2014-2021).

“The ISGS continues its exceptional service to DOE and the swelling number of CCS stakeholders here and abroad by sharing the rich data products generated from the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project,” said Darin Damiani, Carbon Transport and Storage Senior Program Manager for the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “DOE believes sharing high-value data from projects like the IBDP will help catalyze the growth and safe deployment of CCS in the U.S., as well as in nations looking to CCS as a component of their decarbonization strategy.” 

The IBDP developed and implemented a rigorous monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) program for the captured and stored CO2. The extensive MVA activities include high-fidelity induced seismicity monitoring, 3D seismic surveying, 3D vertical seismic profiling, soil flux monitoring, atmospheric monitoring, shallow groundwater monitoring, and deep subsurface fluid sampling to ensure the COremains safely stored underground.

“The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project led the way in developing and field-testing the full CCS value chain with carbon dioxide from biofuels production. We are proud to have created a project that has produced so much valuable data to share with colleagues and projects around the world,” said project principal investigator Sallie Greenberg.

Researchers interested in full the continuous microseismic dataset (not housed on EDX) should contact DOE NETL at EDXSupport@netl.doe.gov for more information.

An international collaboration between the United States and Norway has also been created to share selected datasets from the project on the CO2DataShare open access portal, including:  

  • GIS and georeferenced Imagery: provides a GIS-based portrayal and spatial archive of the IBDP project wells and the distribution of near-surface monitoring and sampling installations that were present at the IBDP field site.
  • Seismic data: includes IBDP 3D seismic (volume reprocessed), IMDP 3D time-lapse VSP (vertical seismic profile) (reprocessed), and IBDP passive seismic events monitoring (microseismic).
  • Well information: includes data collected from the project’s three deep wells, such as geophysical logs, core and sidewall core analyses, and various well tests. It also includes stratigraphic tops picked from the project wells and representative geologic cross-sections, as well as well design summary sheets and directional surveys.
  • Horizons and faults: exported from the Petrel geological model.
  • IBDP geological model: features a Petrel model containing wells, horizons, and fault interpretations from the project.
  • Technical reports and final project report: includes geo-mechanical reports, site map images, static model reports, stratigraphy, well completion reports, well diagrams, well testing reports and the final report (Sallie E. Greenberg, Ph.D: ILLINOIS BASIN—DECATUR PROJECT Final Report: An Assessment of Geologic Carbon Sequestration Options in the Illinois Basin: Phase III. Illinois State Geological Survey. July 2021.). Other selected reports and outreach materials also are available.

CO₂ DataShare, a platform for sharing CO₂ storage data, was launched in 2020. The portal builds on UNINETT Sigma2’s solution for data storage, combined with a tailored frontend that was developed using the open-source software CKAN.

“We are excited to be able to share the unique data from the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project with the CCS communities around the world,” said CO2DataShare project manager Grethe Tangen. “The dataset complements the published data from Norwegian CO2 storage projects. In particular, the microseismic data represents a valuable addition to the CO2 DataShare dataset portfolio.”

Information about CO2DataShare can be found on its project webpage.

What to know about 5 big plans for U.S. carbon removal

A direct air capture (DAC) plant operated by Climeworks, a DAC development company. Photo by Julia Dunlop/Climeworks

Read the full story from the World Resources Institute.

The U.S. has a particularly large role to play in leading global development of carbon removal approaches and technologies. Given its outsized contribution to the CO2 that is already in the atmosphere (known as its “legacy emissions”) carbon removal will be needed not only to counter-balance residual emissions — or those that can’t be reduced or eliminated by mid-century, for example from long-haul shipping or aviation — but also to address these legacy emissions.

As the U.S. has emitted more carbon dioxide to date than any other country in the world, the country’s investment in scaling carbon removal could help contribute to greater equity in global climate action.

Summit Carbon Solutions announces strategic investment from Continental Resources to create largest of its kind carbon capture and sequestration project

Read the company news release.

Today, Summit Carbon Solutions announces a strategic investment from Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE: CLR) to create the largest carbon capture and sequestration project of its kind in the world.

Continental Resources will commit $250 million over the next two years to help fund the development and construction of the project’s associated capture, transportation, and sequestration infrastructure, while also leveraging its operational and geologic expertise to help ensure the safe and secure storage of CO2.

Summit Carbon Solutions will primarily capture CO2 from ethanol plants and other industrial sources in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The CO2 will be aggregated and transported to North Dakota via pipeline, where it will be safely and permanently sequestered in extensively researched subsurface geologic formations.