Climate Change

Grants approved for world’s largest carbon removal projects

Grants approved world s largest carbon removal projects

Photo: Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations


August 15, 2023






August 15, 2023





The United States approved up to USD 1.2 billion in grants for two planned direct air capture and storage facilities in Louisiana and Texas. The project developers are tasked with removing one million tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere and storing the greenhouse gas deep underground.

The carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is still far from profitable and the existing solutions haven’t shown sufficient if any efficiency. The market for sequestering carbon dioxide at the source of emissions, in industrial facilities, is undeveloped. The situation is even more difficult for investors in direct air capture (DAC), struggling to find funding, as carbon removal only spends money.

Proponents say things may change when demand rises for synthetic fuels, which are produced from captured CO2. Carbon can be utilized in various industries, for instance in the production of concrete or even diamonds or vodka.

The third and easiest way to sequester CO2 is to increase the ability of soil to absorb carbon by sustainably managing agriculture and forestry and thus stimulating photosynthesis.

Critics claim CCS is excuse for fossil fuel industry to keep pumping oil, gas

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acknowledged the need for DAC for long-term storage, to mitigate climate change. The United States is determined to come out on top in the field and it is competing with the European Union in supporting and attracting such investments.

The carbon from CO2 can also be turned into rock

Critics say public money should be spent on the clean energy transition and other forms of decarbonization, and accuse the fossil fuel industry of supporting and developing carbon capture, utilization and storage projects to have an excuse to keep producing oil, gas and petrochemicals.

Major oil company’s subsidiary heads one of two winning projects

The Department of Energy in Washington DC has just declared the first two winners in its program and awarded a bunch of grants for research and studies from its DAC chest of USD 3.5 billion. It said it aims to pick the remaining two hubs next year.

The consortium that got up to USD 602 million approved is actually led by a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum (also known as Oxy) – 1PointFive. With its partners – Canada-based Carbon Engineering and American-Australian engineering firm WorleyParsons, going as Worley, it is building the South Texas DAC Hub.

Located in Kleberg County, the complex would push the sequestered greenhouse gas more than three kilometers below ground to permanently store it. The idea is also to store CO2 captured in industrial facilities on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Both hubs to be powered by renewables

The second winner, Project Cypress DAC Hub, is under development in southwest Louisiana. It is eligible for USD 500 million to USD 600 million.

The project is run by private nonprofit scientific organization Battelle Memorial Institute from Columbus, Ohio, Climeworks and Heirloom Carbon Technologies. The last of the three is working on ways to mineralize carbon, like what the world’s currently largest CCS facility in Iceland does. It is run by Climeworks.

Developers of the South Texas DAC Hub hinted that they aim to make more machines at the site to achieve an annual capacity of 30 million tons

Both projects are planned to be powered from renewable sources and are aimed at reaching an annual capacity of one million tons of CO2 each. The developers of the Texas hub said they aspire to build 29 more equivalent carbon removal units at the site and estimated the storage potential at three billion tons.

The two hubs are envisaged to employ a total of 5,000 people. Neither is intended for enhanced oil recovery, which is when captured CO2 is injected into almost depleted wells to squeeze out the remaining oil.

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