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U.S. Department of Energy allocates over $1 billion to revolutionary carbon removal projects in Texas and Louisiana.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has greenlit $1.2 billion in federal grants for pioneering carbon emissions removal projects in Texas and Louisiana. These endeavors are expected to reduce carbon emissions by over 2 million metric tons annually, as the race to scale up direct air capture (DAC) technology accelerates.

Selected by the DOE, Project Cypress in Louisiana, a collaborative effort by Battelle, Climeworks Corporation, and Heirloom Carbon Technologies. This project stands alongside the South Texas DAC Hub in Kleberg County, Texas, proposed by Occidental Petroleum's subsidiary, 1PointFive, in partnership with Carbon Engineering Ltd and Worley.

On Friday, alongside these significant financial commitments, the DOE introduced several fresh initiatives. Their ultimate aim? To drive down the cost of this groundbreaking technology to under $100 per net metric ton of CO2-equivalent by the close of the decade. These initiatives encompass a $35 million government procurement program centered on carbon removal credits, as well as comprehensive funding for feasibility and design studies for budding hub projects.

Given the urgency presented by climate change and the historical shortfall in emissions reduction, carbon removal has come to the fore. U.N. experts have stipulated that extracting billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere annually is imperative if global warming is to be limited to a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

According to Reuters, The DOE is optimistic that deploying DAC on a massive scale could position the U.S. to achieve its ambition of zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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However, this promising technology needs rapid cost reductions for a widespread deployment that can significantly impact the planet. "If we deploy this at scale, this technology can help us make serious headway toward our net-zero emissions goals while we are still focused on deploying, deploying, deploying more clean energy at the same time," articulated Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Following Congressional approval of $3.5 billion for regional DAC hubs via the bipartisan infrastructure bill, these new grants represent the DOE's inaugural disbursements. They set the stage for negotiations to determine the specifics of the funding distribution.

Oxy CEO, Vicki Hollub, spotlighted the potential of their project, aiming to eradicate up to 30 million tons of CO2 annually when in full swing, emphasizing the maturity of their technical approach. Meanwhile, DAC's operational principle centers around chemical reactions which extract CO2 from the atmosphere, offering potential use in commodities like concrete or aviation fuel.

Highlighting rapid advancements, Shashank Samala, Heirloom CEO, stated, "Just two years ago, we were in a petri dish where we were removing grams of CO2 from the air." He noted that exponential growth could lead to removal rates reaching a billion tons annually.

However, the timeline for these ventures isn't set in stone, with permitting processes among key factors influencing their rollout. The spotlight on carbon removal will likely grow even more intense as the COP28 climate summit in the United Arab Emirates looms just three months away. Amidst this backdrop, the U.S. seems to be firmly planting its flag as a forerunner in the DAC technology space. As Erin Burns, of Carbon180, aptly noted, "The U.S. is making a very large bet on this technology."

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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