The Biden administration is outlining a plan for four carbon capture facilities
US Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday announced the latest program coming out of a two-party infrastructure funding package that was adopted last year. In this case, the money will contribute to the development of technology, which we will almost certainly need, but is currently underdeveloped: the capture of carbon dioxide from the air and its stable storage. The Infrastructure Act has allocated $ 3.5 billion for direct air intake, and the Department of Health plans to use this to fund four facilities located across the United States.
Immediate air intake suffered minor damage-22. Most end-century warming scenarios assume that in the next few decades we will be emitting enough carbon dioxide to exceed our climate targets, and so we will need to remove some from the atmosphere. This will require the development of direct air intake technologies. But there is currently no way to fund the operation of the capture facility, so the technology remains immature and its economy is not clear enough.
DOE funding may change some of this. In 2022-2026, it plans to spend $ 3.5 billion. It is planned to be used to fund four carbon capture and storage centers located throughout the United States, each of which can permanently store one million metric tons of carbon dioxide. year
Funding will be carried out throughout the process: a facility that removes and concentrates carbon dioxide; any pipelines or transport equipment necessary to reach the place where they are used or stored; and any equipment required for storage. Funding is agnostic regarding the method used for capture and storage, mentioning that chemical capture, biomass removal and ocean sequestration are all options.
The entire project will be subject to a life cycle analysis to determine the actual capture potential of any projects. This will include all materials and energy involved in the construction and operation of the facility, any emissions resulting from changes in land use and the duration of carbon sequestration. If, for example, an underground storage facility is used, a leak from the storage facility will be considered. Similarly, it is necessary to control the effectiveness of sequestration by chemical reactions, and when included in the product must take into account the service life of the product.
The current call for proposals will focus on funding projects while conducting feasibility studies and obtaining permits; another competitive evaluation will take place before the case moves on to the design and construction phase. The economy ministry says projects will be evaluated on indicators, including an estimated cost per tonne of CO2 processed, overall load capacity and potential for long-term employment. Location will also be an important factor. The Ministry of Economy would like to locate two in regions that currently produce fossil fuels, so that all of them are located in areas with high geological potential for carbon storage, and so that four are located in different regions of the country.
Current plans are to begin construction in 2026 and operation by 2029. Obviously, problems may arise due to changes in administration in the coming years. But once sites are selected, these projects are likely to find defenders in Congress, making it difficult to shut them down.
After construction, the biggest problem will be the operation of the plant. Carbon capture makes much more climatic sense when it is combined with renewable energy, but the Ministry of Health does not seem to take this into account when evaluating these proposals. And the economy of direct air intake remains problematic. Different combinations of carbon taxes, materials obtained by chemical reactions involving CO2, and the desire for high-quality carbon offsets can help tilt the balance toward profitability. But so far none of them has appeared on a large enough scale to fund several such high-capacity projects.