The US has ambitious goals to reach and maintain a net-zero economy by 2050. To get the nation closer to this objective, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is accelerating its Carbon Negative Shot initiative to facilitate the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while also driving down the cost of the technology.
To support this effort, the Biden administration pledged to inject $3.5 billion in funding for a set of regional direct air capture hubs.
Unprecedented boost of carbon capture tech
Leading up to this massive financial move is a string of smaller investments that started with $22 million in 2020 followed by $24 million in funding last year. Both those investments went toward advancing research into carbon capture technology.
The Carbon Negative Shot effort is part of the bigger Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) that was signed by President Biden in November 2021. The aim is to deploy carbon capture technologies on a gigaton scale by 2050 by driving down the cost of carbon capture and storage to $100 per ton.
For some perspective, a gigaton is equal to one billion metric tons—and right now the world’s largest direct air capture plant collects around 4,000 tons of CO2 annually. The human species generates a whopping 30 billion tons of CO2 each year. A single gigaton would cover about the amount of CO2 generated annually by the US’s light-duty vehicle fleet.
“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,” states US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is funding new technologies that will not only make our carbon-free future a reality but will help position the US as a net-zero leader while creating good-paying jobs for a transitioning clean energy workforce.”