Direct Air Capture Given $12 Million Funding Boost By DOE

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced on June 15th 2021, a $12 million federal funding for six R&D projects dedicated to direct air capture technology. The projects are located at universities and labs in Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois and Kansas. 

They will be observed by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The goal is to advance the CO2 removal process of the DAC technology and reduce costs that are holding back deployment. 

“These DOE investments, and the ones we will make with President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, are crucial to advancing technology that will help us avoid the worst effects of climate change and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

Fundging For Direct Air Capture Companies

The six teams and companies that will receive the funding and work to accelerate DAC tools are: 

  • Cormetech Inc. with its idea to develop a DAC contactor – the device through which air and CO2 is moved and captured. It will have a bigger capacity for CO2 absorption from the air, while also reducing the amount of energy needed to operate. The awarded amount it will receive is $1.5 million
  • The Research Triangle Institute team that plans to design, fabricate and test an early-stage DAC contactor powered by low-cost wind energy. The process aims to increase the efficiency of DAC technology operations. The awarded amount is $1.5 million
  • A project housed at Susteon Inc. that develops a structured material that is both regenerative and able to capture and contain high amounts of CO2. The new material that captures more CO2 can also reduce the amount of energy required to operate the system which additionally reduces costs. The sum it will receive is also $1.5 million. 
  • The Black & Veatch Corporation team in Kansas that is working on the initial engineering design of a DAC system to be placed in Odessa, Texas, Bucks, Alabama, and Goose Creek Illinois. The system will capture 100,000 tons of CO2 per year from the air. The team will be awarded $2.5 million.
  • Silicon Kingdom Holdings Limited in Ireland that will finalize three initial designs for a large-scale, passive DAC system, capable of removing 1,000 tons of CO2 per day. The project is also awarded $2.5 million. 
  • The University of Illinois team that will develop initial designs for commercial scale direct air capture. The team will work with partners to improve the designs to permanently store CO2 at underground facilities in Wyoming, Louisiana and California. The project will also measure the impact of using different low-carbon power sources like geothermal, solar, wind or waste heat to reduce the life-cycle emissions of the DAC technology. The amount it will receive is $2,499,798. 

The last three projects from the list above will work to create the first-ever DAC technology capable of capturing 100,000 tons of CO2 per year as currently, there are no DAC systems with such capacity.

Direct air carbon capture is an important technology absolutely critical in reducing the accumulated CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It is a necessary tool in achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and carbon capture investment in this sector are consistently improving its efficiency and viability. 

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