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US Government Gives Green Light to First National Direct Air Capture (DAC) Projects

The Project Cypress by Battelle and clean technology developers Climeworks and Heirloom received Notification of Selection from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hubs program

US Government Gives Green Light to First National Direct Air Capture Projects

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America initiative and within the framework of the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded Regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hubs program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $1.2 billion in funding to advance the development of two commercial-scale direct air capture facilities in Texas and Louisiana.

Nonprofit Battelle and leading clean technology developers Climeworks and Heirloom were selected by DOE for their proposal for the DAC Hubs program. The program aims to launch a nationwide network of large-scale carbon removal sites to address legacy carbon dioxide pollution and complement rapid emissions reductions.

The Project Cypress DAC Hub will be implemented in Southwest Louisiana. It is designed to advance the commercialization of Direct Air Capture and Storage (DAC+S). This innovative technology is powered by renewable energy that will verifiably remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the captured CO2 underground.

Besides the environmental benefits, the project is expected to generate advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S. to further the country’s climate goals.

As the three firms mentioned above received Notification of Selection from the DOE, the Project Cypress can now proceed with negotiations leading to an award.

Battelle is the prime contractor on the project to be launched in late 2023. Meanwhile, the local carbon storage company, Gulf Coast Sequestration, will partner with Project Cypress to sequester captured CO₂.

Together with another initiative – South Texas DAC Hub – the Project Cypress will help further demonstrate the ability to capture and store atmospheric CO2 at scale. The two selected direct air capture facilities are expected to remove over 2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year. This amount is equivalent to the annual emissions from 445,000 gasoline-powered cars. Besides, the two projects will create 4,800 good-paying jobs for local talent in Texas and Louisiana.

The two Hubs are also expected to contribute to the President’s Justice40 Initiative. That means that 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments in these projects will go to disadvantaged communities that have been marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.

As we have previously reported, clean energy investments surged 31% last year, compared to 2021 and topped record $1 trillion milestone for the first time.

Currently, an estimated 2 billion tons of CO2 are captured and locked up annually. However, the majority of these emissions are neutralized by conventional carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods. Only a small amount, equivalent to 30 minutes of emissions a year, comes from environmental innovations like direct air capture (DAC), bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and ocean alkalinization.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.