DOE: $24M to capture carbon emissions from air

10 September 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced USD $24 million in funding for nine research projects to explore and develop new methods of capturing and storing carbon from the air. Direct Air Capture (DAC) is an expanding field in decarbonization and a key facet of the plan to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

"Finding ways to remove and store carbon directly from the air is an absolute necessity in our fight against the climate crisis," said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. "This investment in carbon capture technology research through universities and DOE laboratories will position America as a leader in this growing field, create good-paying jobs, and help make our carbon-free future a reality."

Studies indicate curbing carbon emissions alone will not be sufficient, and innovative approaches like direct air capture will be required to combat the climate crisis.

Direct air capture technology is a growing field that still requires significant investments in research and development to create a cost-effective and economically viable technology that can be deployed at scale and in time to meet the urgent needs of the climate crisis. These new research projects will support breakthroughs in understanding how to overcome the limitations of currently available technologies, including inefficient energy usage, with the goal of building a research foundation of entirely new and more effective approaches for direct removal of carbon dioxide from the air.

The nine awards are led by two national laboratories and seven universities, including North Carolina A&T State University, an Historically Black University. The awards tackle topics including discovery of novel materials, chemistries, and processes for extraction of carbon dioxide from air, and combined experimental and computational studies on carbon dioxide capture for sequestration or reuse.

The selected projects include:

- Washington State University and Oklahoma State University will use energy efficient approaches to convert carbon dioxide capture into useful products. (Award amount: USD $4.8 million)
- University of Illinois, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Case Western Reserve University will advance novel approaches that use electricity or light to control the capture and/or release of carbon dioxide. (Award amount: USD $9 million)
- North Carolina A&T State University, Oregon State University, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will explore new materials and chemical compounds with the potential for improved efficiency for carbon dioxide capture and regeneration. (Award amount: USD $6.6 million)
- Northwestern University will examine how the dynamical behavior of promising carbon capture systems impacts their carbon dioxide capture and release. (Award amount: USD $3.3 million)

Projects were chosen based on peer review under a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement open to universities, national laboratories, industry, and non-profit research organizations. Total funding is USD $24 million for projects lasting up to three years in duration, with USD $8 million in Fiscal Year 2021 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. The final details for each award are subject to negotiations between DOE and the awardee.

Courtesy of US DOE.