Senators Introduce Bill to Support Carbon Capture Research and Development - Daily Energy Insider

A HUGE thank you to Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) for introducing the USE IT Act (The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act). Great name, by the way. 

This legislation, combined with those 45Q tax credits for carbon capture (the FUTURE Act), would really help CCUS projects take off. If passed, the USE IT Act would support carbon capture research, speed up the review and approval process for CCUS projects and CO2 pipeline building (which is VERY important), allow for greater collaboration among government and non-government players, and establish task forces that would help improve CCUS laws over time. 

Basically, this bill starts building the infrastructure necessary for CCUS to become a mainstream technology. 

What’s even better is how carbon capture and utilization brings together both sides of the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation that actually helps the country. John Barrasso is a major advocate for the use of fossil fuels and Sheldon Whitehouse is one of DC’s biggest champions of fighting climate change. Both of these senators found common ground and have come together over CCUS by ensuring it has the support it needs to succeed.

At This Rate, It’s Going to Take Nearly 400 Years to Transform the Energy System - MIT Technology Review

We certainly hope that it doesn’t take 400 years to transform our global energy system. If it does, add that to the list of reasons why carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) is absolutely necessary in the fight against climate change. There just isn’t another way to achieve our goals. In fact, carbon capture is mentioned several times in this article as a requirement in the overhauling of our energy system.

One of the most immediate reasons for why we need massive-scale CCUS is illustrated in the paragraph below:

Carbon dioxide works on a time delay. It takes about 10 years to achieve its full warming effect, and it stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years. After we’ve tipped into the danger zone, eliminating carbon dioxide emissions doesn’t decrease the effects; it can only prevent them from getting worse. Whatever level of climate change we allow to unfold is locked in for millennia, unless we develop technologies to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere on a massive scale.

Wise government policies and increased research and development are needed across the entire renewable and cleantech sectors - especially when it comes to CCUS. A cap-and-trade system or carbon fee and dividend (supported by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby) would help immensely.  

Speaking of policy, stay tuned for updates on the new Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act. This is the next step after the recently expanded and improved 45Q tax credits (FUTURE Act). 

There is much to be done; but we can do it if we choose to do so. Check out our Take Action! page to find out how you can get involved in supporting CCUS!

Canadian and Chinese Cleantech Organizations Collaborate to Advance CCUS - JWN

Global cooperation is absolutely necessary in order for CCUS to succeed. Sharing knowledge and resources speeds up the development and deployment of new technologies and can improve international relations. This agreement between Chinese and Canadian organizations is very encouraging! 

Saudi Aramco Touts Carbon Capture as Policymakers Push Investments - Houston Chronicle

Saudi Aramco (AKA the Saudi Arabian Oil Company) is in the process of developing mobile carbon capture technology. This would allow for CO2 emissions to be captured right from the tailpipes of vehicles - especially large trucks. As one of the largest companies in the world by revenue, and also one the most valuable (with a market value of somewhere around $2 trillion), Aramco’s vast resources could be a significant part of the global CCUS research and development budget.  

Saudi Arabia is particularly interested in carbon capture since the technology could potentially extend the life of fossil fuels. The country has already invested in several projects that capture and utilize CO2. CCUS technologies would enable Saudi Arabia to lower its massive carbon footprint and still produce oil.  

The Middle Eastern country is one the the largest emitters of CO2 globally and their economy relies mostly on exporting oil to the world. In the short-term, this won’t change fast enough to effectively fight climate change. This is why CCUS is so important. As Jason Bordoff of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University says in the article, “It’s just reality that we can’t come close to meeting our climate goals without technology that’s going to store CO2. Clean energy isn’t going to happen fast enough.”

A Promising Technology to Fight Climate Change Is Finally Becoming a Reality - Slate

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for carbon capture - thanks in large part to those 45Q tax credits. As this article states, the US government should now continue supporting these technologies with legislation that encourages the building of CO2 pipeline infrastructure and makes the financing of carbon capture projects easier.

This year could very well be a turning point for CCUS technologies being brought into the mainstream. Although CCUS can never be used as a silver bullet in the fight against climate change, it is absolutely necessary if we are going to win.

Croplands Can Suck Lots of CO2 from Air If Treated with Crushed Rock - MinnPost

Another environmental problem we face worldwide is poor soil quality. Soil health is negatively impacted by climate change AND can actually make climate change worse since unhealthy soils release CO2 rather than absorb it. Add this to a worsening food security problem and the need to improve the health of our DIRT is obvious.

This is where something called “enhanced weathering” comes in. Essentially, this takes a part of the Earth’s natural carbon cycle and speeds it up. Crushed volcanic rock (which is plentiful) is added to soil in croplands. These rocks then react with rainwater and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere on a large scale. The health of the soil improves and the CO2 is locked up for 100,000 - a million years. Sounds good. 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. Adding this rock to agricultural lands can also increase crop yields, improve plant health, and lead to a decreased usage of fertilizers and pesticides. 

More research is being done to figure out how this can be done effectively and efficiently on a large scale.

Climate Change — The Earth Is Screaming For Help. Is Anyone Listening? - Cleantechnica

“At Cape Morris Jesup, the northernmost tip of Greenland, the mercury is reading 43 degrees Fahrenheit — 50 degrees higher than the norm for this time of year... it is scary hot up here and that is going to affect your comfortable, middle class world sooner than you think.”

We need carbon capture technologies deployed on a large scale right now (well, we needed them deployed a decade ago).
Humanity absolutely requires CCUS technologies to succeed in order to survive. With the right policies, political will, and foresight, we can make it happen.

Can Updated Tax Credits Bring Carbon Capture Into the Mainstream? - Greentech Media

More great analysis of the 45Q tax credits. It’s hard to overstate how important this tax credit is for the CCUS community. We’ve been stuck in what Jesse Jenkins of MIT describes as a negative feedback loop - where “high cost barriers to entry prevented companies from pushing forward on innovation, which in turn prevented the technology from getting cheaper.” 

This is spot on. Innovation and the wider adoption of a technology makes it cheaper. Think about the first computer; it was the size of a large room, only performed the most basic tasks, and was incredibly expensive (only governments and large companies could afford them). Now, we have computers in our back pockets that are millions of times faster than the total computing power of NASA in the 1960s. Your smartphone is even more powerful than IBM’s 1997 supercomputer, Deep Blue, that beat Garry Kasparov at chess. This pace of innovation was driven by investment in research and development - which led to a decrease in price - which led to the technology becoming more accessible and used - which led to more research - which led to a further drop in price…and so on. 

Many carbon capture technologies are at the stage where computers were 40 years ago. Now that investing in carbon capture won’t be as risky for companies, these technologies can begin to take off. We must do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t take 30-40 years though!

Remember, investment and research -> drop in price -> wider use of a technology -> more research and development into that technology -> further drop in price -> even wider use of the technology.

The Race to Invent the Artificial Leaf - MIT Technology Review

The invention of an artificial leaf that could create liquid fuels out of CO2, water, and sunlight would be one of the most important and impactful energy breakthroughs in human history. 

Using artificial photosynthesis to create what are called solar fuels would allow for the economical and efficient storage of solar energy and production of carbon-neutral fuels to be used in transportation. Carbon neutral means the production of these fuels would capture just as much CO2 as they emit when burned - essentially recycling the same emissions over and over again. That’s a big step towards being carbon negative. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the work of two scientists on opposite sides of the country, Nate Lewis and Dan Nocera, who are pioneers when it comes to artificial photosynthesis.

The Carbon-Capture Era May Finally Be Starting - MIT Technology Review


Recent analysis has shown that the expanded and improved tax credits for capturing and storing carbon emissions - known as 45Q - may finally have tipped the scales in favor of these vital emerging technologies.   

Julio Friedmann of the Energy Futures Initiative thinks “we’ll see dozens of [carbon-capture] projects appear in the next couple of years that could not have happened otherwise.”

What’s especially helpful about these tax credits is that they apply to technologies that capture emissions directly from a source AND to ones that scrub CO2 from the air - a crucial part of solving the climate crisis. 

The article also brings up a good point on how CCUS can be a source of bipartisan cooperation in Washington. The 45Q tax credit was supported by both climate deniers and strong environmentalists - namely Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). 

More news will be coming out over the next few weeks. The 45Q tax credit is definitely a bright spot in what’s recently been a dark time in US climate policy. It will no doubt bring about some positive developments for CCUS, the climate, and our economy.

The 4 Climate Technologies Ernest Moniz Says We Need Now - Forbes

Former Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, thinks we’re wasting time and must work much faster on developing and using large-scale carbon management solutions. He’s right. New and more efficient sources of renewable energy just aren’t enough to avoid the climate catastrophe that’s already beginning. 

After serving as the Obama Administration’s Energy Secretary, Moniz became the director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. He’s well aware of the dangers of climate change, as well as the best and most effective ways to combat it. It’s very encouraging to hear him champion these incredibly important solutions.

Moniz knows that only large-scale carbon capture, sequestration, and utilization will allow us to win this fight. He also touches upon two very important methods of carbon capture: Biological Carbon Management (using the Earth’s natural carbon sinks through reforestation and improving farming techniques, for example) and artificial photosynthesis, which creates “solar fuels” by using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. Moniz considers solar fuels to be a “big Holy Grail” when it comes to energy. 

"There’s lots and lots to do here. We need to get on with that portfolio. I want to make it clear... we need to do all of them now.” - Ernest Moniz on CCUS

Energy Department Invests $44M in Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies Projects - US Department of Energy

We need the support of governments around the world to ensure that carbon capture (and utilization) technologies reach their full potential.

Funding the research of these technologies so that they’re able to stand on their own and be deployed on a large scale is good for our economy, environment, and national security. The Department of Energy recognizes this.

This is an investment in our future that, along with the recently passed 45Q tax credit extension and expansion, will help the CCUS community take off.

These are important steps on the way to a new “carbon-based” economy; where we recycle our emissions to make valuable products that are used every day.

Greenhouse Gases Must be Scrubbed From the Air - The Economist

Excellent article from The Economist. It's great to see CCUS getting the coverage it deserves. 

"...what matters to the climate is the total amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. To keep the temperature below a certain level means keeping within a certain “carbon budget”—allowing only so much to accumulate, and no more. Once you have spent that budget, you have to balance all new emissions with removals. If you overspend it, the fact that the world takes time to warm up means you have a brief opportunity to put things right by taking out more than you are putting in."

Can Carbon Dioxide Removal Save the World? - The New Yorker

This is an absolutely fantastic article that everyone should read - even if you’re not interested in carbon capture (which you should be).
Learn about the uphill battle and unknowns we face, but also of the immense possibilities and potential that carbon capture brings. 

Featuring: Noah Deich, Klaus Lackner, David Keith, and other key players in the CCUS arena.