The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide $39 million in funding to 18 tech projects that work on developing carbon-storing buildings.
DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will lead the program named Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA).
Priority for the chosen projects would be overcoming the obstacles to the implementation of carbon-storing buildings such as price, scarcity, and geographic limitations.
“There’s huge, untapped potential in reimagining building materials and construction techniques as carbon sinks that support a cleaner atmosphere and advance President Biden’s national climate goals,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This is a unique opportunity for researchers to advance clean energy materials to tackle one of the hardest to decarbonize sectors that is responsible for roughly 10% of total annual emissions in the United States.”
Greenhouse gas emissions coming from construction, manufacturing, and building renovation and disposal mostly occur at the beginning of a building’s life cycle, DOE reported.
Among the organizations that will work on R&D projects for building materials are the National Renewable Energy Lab (Fairbanks, AK), Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN), SkyNano LLC (Knoxville, TN), and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA). A full list of projects can be found here.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which was awarded $2,476,145, will work on cost-efficient and biologically friendly insulation.
Purdue University received $958,245 and will develop the so-called “living” wood that has the strength of steel and can sequester CO2 from wood and microbes.
SkyNano won $2,000,000 to produce a carbon-negative and highly efficient composite panel with bio-derived fibers.
The University of Pennsylvania will design a carbon-storing buildings structure with eco-friendly materials that store CO2. Its award amounts to $2,407,390.
ARPA-E has also recently provided $5 million in funding to two universities that work on necessary life cycle assessment tools and frameworks for buildings as a carbon sink.
Several other projects have been announced in line with Biden’s net-zero plans for 2050. Those include the i2X partnership for green energy, the $12 million in funding for U.S. cybersecurity, and the Building a Better Grid project that focuses on faster energy transmission infrastructure modernization.