US Launches $3.5 Billion Programme to Capture and Store CO2 From Air

The US Energy Department said on Thursday that it will invest $3.5 billion in four large-scale projects throughout the country to remove carbon dioxide from the air, a fledgling technology that the Biden administration believes is required to attain a target of net zero emissions by mid-century.

The agency announced in a formal notice that it would fund the $3.5 billion program established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021, which would create four regional direct air capture hubs to accelerate the deployment of the technology and carbon dioxide transport and storage infrastructure.

Last month, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report stating that "carbon dioxide removal" technologies will be required to meet global climate change goals, ranging from planting trees that absorb carbon to costly technologies that suck carbon dioxide directly from the air.
“The UN's latest climate report made clear that removing legacy carbon pollution from the air through direct air capture and safely storing it is an essential weapon in our fight against the climate crisis,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

In recent months, carbon removal technology has received a lot of attention and funding. Three big direct air capture projects are now in construction in North America and Europe, however they are only sucking up little volumes of CO2 from the air at the moment.

Google, Shopify, Meta, and Stripe formed a $1 billion fund earlier this year to acquire carbon reduction credits over the next decade as a method to encourage fast adoption of the technology.

Elon Musk last year offered inventors $100 million in prize money to develop new carbon removal technologies.

Carbon removal will need to be implemented at the gigaton scale by midcentury, according to the DOE, which means it would need to be able to sequester the equivalent of emissions from about 250 million vehicles driven in a year.