- The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy announced Friday a total of $110 million in cost-shared research funding for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects.
- While the DOE had announced some of the funds earlier in the year, an initiative for $35 million is specifically focused on wide-scale CCUS deployment of projects that would qualify for a newly extended carbon capture tax credit.
- The funding opportunities are part of the Administration's efforts to strengthen the coal sector while reducing carbon emissions. Senate Armed Services Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who included a key carbon capture bill in the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, and other members of Congress support the technology because of its potential to help the coal sector.
Coal-burning power plants face challenging economics against cheaper natural gas and renewable energy generation, and carbon capture technology is expensive. Therefore, incentives alongside a tax credit are being crafted in Congress to encourage more deployment of the technology.
The latest DOE funding opportunity, Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE): Site Characterization and CO2 Assessment, will assess and verify safe carbon dioxide commercial-scale storage sites and technologies for carbon capture and purification. The projects will have the potential to use the 45Q tax credit, which increased in 2018 to $35/metric ton of enhanced oil recovery and $50/metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) injected into geologic storage.
The CarbonSAFE projects will complete site characterizations for large storage sites (50 million metric tons of captured CO2 within 30 years), complete a CO2 capture assessment and work toward necessary permits for an environmental assessment and for injection control at the site.
The two existing funding opportunities already have projects selected. The first award gave $55.4 million to nine projects focused on commercial-scale carbon capture systems. Awardees included Southern Company Services, Electric Power Research Institute and Bechtel Nation for their carbon capture projects based on natural gas.
One of the awarded projects, led by New York-based Enchant Energy, focuses on a collaboration with the city of Farmington, New Mexico, to retrofit the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station and extend the life of the plant.
The second award gave four projects up to $20 million in total for new regional initiatives focused on the technical challenges of CCUS.
The DOE's National Energy Technology Lab will manage the selected projects for CarbonSAFE. Applications for the funding opportunity are due Jan. 15, 2020.