On April 24 the U.S. Department of Energy released the fourth Pathways to Commercial Liftoff report, which focuses on carbon management. The new report follows the announcement of the liftoff effort, and the release of the previous three reports, which discuss clean hydrogen, advanced nuclear, and long-duration energy storage.
The fourth report covers all stages of the CO2 management ecosystem, from point-source carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) to carbon removal (CDR).
The United States is a leader in CO2 management deployment, with more than 20 million metric tons of carbon per annum (MTPA) of CO2 capacity. This number, however, covers just 1 to 5% of what would be required by mid-century: the country will likely need to capture and store about 400 to 1,800 MTPA to achieve net-zero goals by 2050. That represents an investment opportunity of as much as $100 billion by the end of this decade and $600 billion by 2050.
A portfolio of CO2 management technologies exists currently that is mature and ready to deploy. Several dozen commercial-scale CO2 management projects are in operation and more than a hundred projects are in the project development stage.
According to the report, the industry is poised to allocate billions of dollars toward CO2 management technologies, driven by industry sectors such as ethanol, natural gas processing, and ammonia.
The United States offers a supportive policy network for CCUS. The country also has favorable storage geology and relatively abundant low-cost net-zero-CO2 energy resources to power carbon removal projects. The Biden administration aims to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by mid-century.
The liftoff report also talks about the challenges ahead of carbon management, including and near-term bottlenecks in transport and storage, revenue certainly in the long term, challenging project economics in hard-to-abate sectors like cement, steel, refining, and chemicals.
The reports were prepared through stakeholder engagement and a combination of system-level modeling and project-level financial modeling. New reports will be coming in the next months.