US will invest US$3.5bn in building hubs to suck CO2 from the air

Article by Adam Duckett

Grindstone Media Group /
Direct removal of CO2 from the air could help to counterbalance residual emissions from hard-to-abate industry sectors

THE US is investing US$3.5bn to create four large-scale direct air capture (DAC) hubs to remove CO2 from the air.

The US Department of Energy said it will fund four hubs, each capable of capturing and storing at least 1m t/y of CO2 from the atmosphere. It will open the application process for funding to technology developers, industry and universities in Q4 2022.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said: “The UN's latest climate report made clear that removing legacy carbon pollution from the air through direct air capture and safely storing it is an essential weapon in our fight against the climate crisis.”

The funding will be used to demonstrate the capture, processing, delivery, and sequestration or end-use of captured carbon. It says the hubs could be developed into regional or interregional carbon networks.

The investment is part of the country’s efforts to achieve a net zero economy by 2050.

Last month the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said large-scale deployment of CO2 removal technologies was unavoidable if net zero emissions are to be achieved. It reported that direct removal of CO2 could help to counterbalance residual emissions from hard-to-abate industry sectors and in the longer-term achieve net negative emissions. In a report published in 2019, it said CO2 removal technologies, which also includes CCS, land restoration and reforestation, would need to remove 100bn–1,000bn t of CO2 over the course of the 21st Century to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Currently, the largest direct air capture and CO2 storage facility is operated by Climeworks in Iceland, which has a capacity to capture 4,000 t/y of CO2, showing the measure of the scaleup and scale-out challenge faced in achieving the IPCC projections.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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