US energy company Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES) is donating $50 million to the Salk Institute in California over five years to advance research and development (R&D) in plant-based carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The gift will be used to support recruitment of faculty staff and laboratory and research operations for the Harnessing Plants Initiative, aimed at optimizing plants and supporting wetlands to increase capture of excess carbon in the atmosphere in an effort to mitigate climate change.
Additionally, it will serve to create and endow the Hess Center for Plant Science within the new 100,000-square-foot Jacobs Center that Salk plans to build.
“This gift comes at the ideal time, as climate change is one of the most significant and urgent issues facing the health of humanity and our planet,” Salk’s President, Professor Rusty Gage, said in a comment, calling the donation forward-thinking generosity which will pay dividends for future generations.
Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative comprises two projects. Under the CO2 Removal on a Planetary Scale project scientists are developing Salk Ideal Plants® for optimized CCS, while the Coastal Plant Restoration project explores the potential of wetland plants to retain carbon, purify water, and preserve land.
Hess’s donation is part of Salk’s Campaign for Discovery: The Power of Science, a seven-year fundraising campaign for a total of $750 million through which the institute is looking to attract investments to accelerate critical research.
In 2020, the energy corporation made a gift of $12.5 million to Salk for R&D in plant-based carbon capture and storage, followed by another donation of $3 million in 2021 to establish the Hess Chair in Plant Science at the institute.