by Nick Pope
The Biden administration announced Friday that it will spend up to $1.2 billion to fund two direct air capture (DAC) carbon removal projects, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), a technology which some reports have suggested may be an ineffective tool to counter climate change.
These projects in Louisiana and Texas will essentially be large vacuums that suck up carbon dioxide from the air, separate it with chemical processing and then condense the carbon dioxide for burial underground or for use in industrial products like cement, according to a DOE press release. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has promoted this particular form of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, but DAC emits more carbon dioxide than it captures while relying on toxic chemicals, according to a January report from Food and Water Watch, a climate-focused nonprofit group that advocates for green policies.
“These two projects are going to build these regional direct air capture hubs,” Granholm said of the DAC projects to reporters, according to CNN. “That means they’re going to link everything from capture to processing to deep underground storage, all in one seamless process.”
DAC technology is also more expensive per ton of removed carbon dioxide than other emissions mitigation techniques because of the energy-intensive demands of separating carbon dioxide from ambient air with chemical products, according to a May 2022 report from the World Resources Institute, an organization that aims to “fundamentally transform the world’s food, land and water,” according to its website. The DOE anticipates that the two new projects will remove at least 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year they are operational, an amount that is equivalent to the annual emissions generated by 445,000 gas-powered vehicles, according to the DOE press release.
In addition to the funding to be announced Friday, the Inflation Reduction Act allots tax credits of $85 per ton of carbon dioxide captured and stored, and $180 for every ton of carbon dioxide removed and stored permanently, according to the White House.
DAC and other CCS technologies are set to play a key role in the Biden administration’s larger push to reach net zero carbon emissions in the American power sector by 2035 and a net zero economy by 2050, as they will theoretically allow for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions that cannot be avoided, according to the White House.
Neither the White House nor the DOE responded immediately to requests for comment.
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Nick Pope is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Carbon Capture Facility” by SaskPower. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0