The Energy Department announced last week that it is awarding up to $1.2 billion to two projects in Louisiana and Texas to directly remove carbon dioxide from the air in what officials are calling the largest investment in “engineered carbon removal” in history, reports The Associated Press.
The process, known as direct air capture, does not yet exist on a meaningful scale and could be a game changer if it is developed and proves economical. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says it could help the U.S. “make serious headway toward our net zero emissions goals while we are still focused on deploying more clean energy.”
Project Cypress will be built in Calcasieu Parish. South Texas DAC is planned for Kleberg County, Texas. Each claims it will initially capture up to one million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. A representative of the Texas project says it will scale up to remove 30 million metric tons per year once fully operational. No date was given.
Officials say the projects will create 5,000 jobs for local workers and people formerly employed in the fossil fuel industry.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was also on a conference call announcing the funding, says Louisiana’s experience in petrochemical manufacturing, density of pipelines and geology makes it well suited for projects that tackle carbon.
The announcement also shows the big bets the Biden administration is making on technologies that capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it underground to address climate change.
However, whether this is the best use of federal funding for curbing emissions is still debated among scientists and researchers.
Read the full story about the Louisiana project, its implications and the questions being raised about carbon capture.