The U.S. Department of Energy announced today the selection of two projects by energy giant Occidental’s (Oxy) carbon capture platform 1PointFive, and carbon removal cleantech Climeworks to receive grants of up to $1.2 billion to develop direct air capture (DAC) facilities capable of capturing and storing millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The awards mark the largest-ever investment in engineered carbon removal.
DAC technology, listed by the IEA as a key carbon removal option in the transition to a net-zero energy system, extracts CO2 directly from the atmosphere for use as a raw material or permanently removed when combined with storage. According to the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate change mitigation study released last year, scenarios that limit warming to 1.5°C include carbon dioxide removal methods scaling to billions of tons of removal annually over the coming decades, with DAC positioned to potentially account for a significant portion of the total.
Most solutions that capture and store CO2 are early stage and currently limited in scale, including DAC. The selected projects would dramatically increase global DAC capacity, with a combined ability to remove more than 2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, and each capable of removing more than 250 times more carbon dioxide than the largest DAC facility currently operating, according to the DOE.
The DOE added that supporting the development of the projects “will help inform future public and private sector investments and jumpstart a new industry critical to addressing the climate crisis on a global scale.”
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, said:
“With this once-in-a-generation investment made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE is laying the foundation for a direct air capture industry crucial to tackling climate change—transforming local economies and delivering healthier communities along the way.”
The projects selected include the Louisiana- based Project Cypress DAC Hub by Climeworks, applied science nonprofit organization Battelle and DAC technology company Heirloom, and 1PointFive’s South Texas DAC Hub, currently in front-end design and engineering with partners Carbon Engineering and Worley.
The selection enables the projects to proceed with award negotiations with the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), with the funding supporting the development of the DAC hubs, including the projects’ planning, design, environmental permitting and long-lead equipment procurement.
Oxy President and CEO Vicki Hollub said:
“We appreciate the U.S. Department of Energy’s leadership to advance Direct Air Capture and look forward to our partnership to deploy this vital carbon removal technology at climate-relevant scale and establish the United States and 1PointFive as global leaders in demonstrating the commercial viability of DAC. We believe this selection validates our readiness, technical maturity and the ability to use Oxy’s expertise in large projects and carbon management to move the technology forward so it can reach its full potential.”
Daniel Nathan, Chief Project Development Officer at Climeworks, said:
“The Notification of Selection is a recognition that Project Cypress has what it takes to contribute to the build-up of the American DAC ecosystem. It is a testament to Climeworks’ proven ability to deliver high-quality, high-integrity carbon removal via DAC+S and we are excited to work alongside all project partners to bring DAC technology to the Gulf Coast.”