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Biden Administration Invests $1 Billion in Gulf Coast Carbon Capture

The Biden administration has unveiled its largest initiative yet to combat carbon dioxide emissions, allocating over $1 billion to fund two facilities on the Gulf Coast that will utilize “direct air capture” (DAC) technology.

Credit: DepositPhotos

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Direct air capture is a process that involves separating carbon from oxygen, reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The captured carbon can then be stored underground or transformed into useful carbon products, thereby preventing its release back into the air.

The two facilities, named Project Cypress in Louisiana and South Texas DAC in Texas, are designed to initially capture up to 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year each. These projects are expected to generate over 4,500 jobs for local workers and individuals previously employed in the fossil fuel industry.

While direct air capture is seen as a valuable approach to address global warming, some scientists argue that it’s energy-intensive and costly to purify and store CO2, making it one of the more expensive and inefficient methods for carbon sequestration.

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Funding for these projects comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 and is part of a broader Department of Energy initiative to establish a network of large-scale carbon removal sites across the nation.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm highlighted the importance of not only reducing carbon emissions but also removing the CO2 that has already been emitted into the atmosphere to achieve a net-zero global economy by 2050.

The investment in these facilities is noted as the world’s largest-ever commitment to engineered carbon removal, with the anticipated impact of clearing over 250 times more carbon dioxide from the air compared to the largest existing direct air capturing facility.

However, challenges remain in perfecting the technology for such large-scale carbon capture. Carbon dioxide is present throughout the entire atmosphere, and capturing significant amounts of it presents complex chemical and logistical considerations.

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