DOE Invests In Carbon Capture, Energy Infrastructure Improvements and Clean Energy Workforce

Graphic: Annabel Driussi for Our Daily Planet

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm continues to charge ahead — yesterday announcing $52 million in grants to centers around the country that provide direct, hands-on, and free assistance to American manufacturers and wastewater treatment facilities to improve their efficiency, save money and reduce their carbon footprint.  The university-based centers train students and they, in turn, offer recommendations for energy and water savings, waste reduction, productivity improvements, cybersecurity, and smart manufacturing opportunities for small to medium factories, and measures their reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Why This Matters: These grants provide much-needed expertise to small and medium-sized businesses and at the same time creates a pipeline of new, clean energy jobs for students looking to join the clean energy economy. Combined with the Department’s announcement of $24 million in funding for carbon capture technology research is giving a needed shot in the arm (pardon the pun) to energy efficiency and essential research on badly needed technology and innovation.  Granholm said, “This new funding is an investment in both the infrastructure and next-generation clean energy workforce we need to tackle the climate emergency and meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”  Exactly!

Carbon Capture In the Spotlight

Dr. Julio Friedmann argued in ODP’s most recent Bright Ideas, direct air capture or DAC has the potential to create good-paying jobs, advance America’s fight against climate change, and achieve President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. “If we can figure out how to remove polluting emissions directly from the air, it would be a game-changer in America’s fight against climate change,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “Let’s make America the leader in this new field, create jobs, and make our carbon-free future a reality.”

On cue, a new carbon dioxide removal service launched yesterday by Carbon Engineering (CE) allows customers to purchase the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using CE’s large-scale DAC technology with Shopify, a leading global commerce company, as its first customer for the service, purchasing 10,000 tons of permanent carbon removal capacity. As Friedmann explains, DAC devices look like air conditioning units stacked sideways and act like turbocharged, space-age trees. Their fans suck excess carbon dioxide from ambient air and oceans and safely store it deep underground where it is naturally absorbed over time

Grants For Universities To Assist Manufacturers

DOE plans to select 25 to 35 universities around the country to serve as industrial assessment centers (IACs), with individual awards of $1.5 to $2.25 million over five years.  Applications will be accepted through Earth Day –  April 22 – at 5:00 p.m. ET.   The IAC program began in 1976 and it simultaneously pursues two goals: (1) supporting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness; and, (2) addressing a growing shortage of engineering professionals with applied energy and manufacturing-related skills. The IAC program provides assessment to small- and medium-sized manufacturers/enterprises (SMEs), which are companies with gross annual sales below $100 million and fewer than 500 employees.

To Go Deeper: For more information, eligibility requirements, and instructions on submitting an application, view the complete funding opportunity announcement. Potential applicants may also view a recording of a recent informational webinar on IAC operations.

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