we President Joe Biden On Friday, the administration set a goal to reduce the cost of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as part of a U.S. plan to decarbonise the economy by 2050.
The Department of Energy’s Carbon Negative Earthshot seeks to reduce the cost of carbon removal to $ 100 per ton by the end of the decade, either through Direct Air Capture (DAC) or by helping forests and other natural systems capture and store gas .
It is the department’s third “Earthshot,” designed to help meet Biden’s climate goals by driving innovations in the most difficult-to-crack technologies. The first two objectives set on the reduction of green costs hydrogen and long-term utility scale battery storage of energy from renewable sources.
“We have already poisoned the atmosphere, we must repair and heal the Earth and the only way to do that is to remove carbon dioxide permanently, “said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm presenting the initiative to the COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.
In Iceland, the Swiss startup Climeworks AG in September opened the largest plant in the world to suck carbon dioxide from the air and pump it underground where it eventually becomes rock, one of 15 global DAC plants. But costs can be as high as $ 600 per ton, and the plants now only remove an amount of carbon equivalent to that emitted by 2,000 cars.
Fatih Birol, head of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, praised the initiative as an example of how governments can help reduce the costs of technology that energy markets cannot afford on their own. “We need governments to push the magic button of innovation,” he said.
Jennifer Wilcox, head of the DOE’s office of fossil energy and carbon management, said using natural systems to remove carbon must overcome obstacles, such as making sure forest fires or future agriculture don’t simply return. carbon in the atmosphere. “Part of this work will be defining what metrics (are) to monitor and verify storage on a long-term scale” for nature-based approaches, Wilcox said.
The carbon negative initiative will be financed through annual allocations from the Department of Energy. In addition, the bipartisan infrastructure bill provides approximately $ 3.5 billion in incentives for DAC demonstration projects. That bill has already passed in the US Senate and the House of Representatives could vote on it as early as Friday.
Carbon Engineering, a Canadian-based company, plans to open a DAC facility in West Texas in 2024.
Microsoft, Western and billionaires Elon Musk and Bill Gates have all invested in DACs.
Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s first chief environmental officer, said the carbon removal markets must mature significantly and the new pricing target in the US may lead to “learning by doing.”
Fred Krupp, president of the non-profit organization of the Environmental Defense Fund, said: “We don’t know which technology will work, frankly we don’t know if it will work, but we should invest and try to get the price under. $ 100.”
(Reported by Timothy Gardner; Edited by David Gregorio)