The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new ‘Carbon Negative Earthshot‘ to help bring carbon capture costs down.
The initiative was formally introduced last week at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, and it follows the launch of the DOE’s other ‘Earthshots’ the aim of which is to reduce costs for green hydrogen and long term utility scale battery storage.
Similarly to these other Earthshot initiatives, the Carbon Negative Shot is designed to bring together investors, developers, and policymakers to advance the development of nascent direct air capture (DAC) technologies and nature-based solutions.
The result of these activities is expected to be a significantly lower price tag on carbon capture.
In fact, the Department of Energy has already set a specific target cost of less than $100 per metric ton of CO2 by 2030.
During an event on the sidelines of COP26, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stressed that the only way to ‘heal the Earth’ after having ‘already poisoned the atmosphere’ is by permanently removing CO2 emissions from the air.
There is still plenty of criticism and skepticism around carbon negative technologies, not least of all due to their high costs and the alleged distraction they create from the need to cut emissions at the source.
However, many experts are certain that such technologies may prove vital for reducing concentrations of atmospheric CO2. And there are several projects underway that aim to prove DAC can be scaled.
The Biden administration is counting on this Earthshot receiving significant support if the bipartisan infrastructure bill passes, as it entails $3.5bn of incentives for DAC demonstration projects.
In addition to bringing carbon capture costs down, Biden has proposed to impose a fee on carbon as part of his climate-and-spending legislation, which has already received the support of the White House and at least 49 senators.
The starting price would come to under $20 per metric ton of CO2 with the prospect of increasing over time.