The US Department of Energy intends to dramatically cut the cost of carbon capture technology. Jennifer M. Granholm, the United States Secretary of Energy, stated today the DOE’s new target of removing gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing it for less than $100 per ton of net CO2-equivalent. The “Carbon Negative Shot,” the third target in DOE’s Energy Earthshots Initiative, is the US government’s first major effort in carbon dioxide removal (CDR), and it is an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation in the rapidly expanding field of CDR, which is a key component of the plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“By slashing the costs and accelerating the deployment of carbon dioxide removal — a crucial clean energy technology — we can take massive amounts of carbon pollution directly from the air and combat the climate crisis,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With our Carbon Negative Shot, we can help remove the greenhouse gases already warming our planet and affecting our health—positioning America as a net-zero leader and creating good-paying jobs for a transitioning clean energy workforce. The combination of the Carbon Negative Shot with our massive investments in hydrogen, battery storage, renewables and decarbonized fossil energy, can make net-zero emissions a reality here and abroad.”
CDR is a broad term that refers to a variety of methods for capturing CO2 directly from the atmosphere and storing it in geological, biobased, and ocean reservoirs, as well as in value-added products, to produce negative emissions. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, nearly all climate and energy models that reach net-zero imply the necessity for a near-term concentration on CDR research and deployment.
CDR will need to be deployed on a gigaton scale by the mid-century. To put this in context, one gigaton of CO2 sequestered in the subsurface is equal to the annual emissions from the US light-duty vehicle fleet—roughly 250 million vehicles driven in a year.
Cost of carbon capture technology, to establish a cost-effective and economically viable technology that can be deployed at scale and in time to meet the urgent needs of the climate catastrophe, CDR technology still requires large investments in research and development.
The United States will expedite CDR innovation and position itself as a leader in research, manufacture, and demonstration through Carbon Negative Shot. It will also develop customized place-based approaches to satisfy the needs of local communities that may or may not engage in CDR. DOE will endeavor to engage these communities and a wide range of stakeholders, including environmental and climate justice organizations, tribal nations, labor organizations, industry, and academics, in meaningful ways. Carbon Negative Shot also advocates for a whole-of-government strategy and seeks alignment at all levels of government, including federal, state, and municipal.
The technology DOE will pursue through Carbon Negative Shot will be defined by four performance elements:
CDR costs less than $100 per net metric ton of CO2 equivalent for both capture and storage;
A thorough accounting of lifecycle emissions (i.e., emissions resulting from the operation and construction of the removal technology);
High-quality, long-lasting storage with proven costs for monitoring, reporting, and verification for at least 100 years; and Enables gigaton-scale disposal.
These performance indicators will guide the development and expansion of a responsible CDR industry capable of addressing the climate problem on the scale required to achieve our net-zero targets.
Visit the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management website for further information.