US Department of Energy funds $135m worth of decarbonisation projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $135m (£106m) for 40 projects that will reduce industrial carbon emissions.

The move is part of efforts to shift towards a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, it said.

“America’s industrial sector serves as the engine of the US economy, producing many of the products we rely on every day, but also produces a significant amount of the nation’s carbon emissions,” said US energy secretary Jennifer M Granholm.

“These projects funded by President Biden’s Investing in American agenda will slash industrial emissions and accelerate next-generation technologies for a clean energy future that’s made in America.”

The US industrial sector accounts for one-third of all energy-related domestic greenhouse gas emissions and is among the most difficult to decarbonise.

The DOE has funded 40 projects that will be led by 36 different universities, national laboratories and companies spread across 21 states.

The projects will support research, development and pilot-scale demonstrations to reduce energy usage and emissions, which account for over 50 per cent of the energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the industrial sector.

The new funding will see $38.3m spent on projects designed to decarbonise the creation of energy-intensive chemicals such as fuels, polymers and paints.

$31.9m will go towards decarbonising iron and steel – a sector that already accounts for 7 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Demand is also expected to rise as the material is fundamental to building the energy transition, from wind turbines to electric vehicles.

The Energy Transitions Commission recently said that zero-carbon steel produced at a competitive price is within reach in Europe and North America, but only with the right policy incentives.

$16.4m from the fund will go towards projects decarbonising cement and concrete. Projects will focus on next-generation cement formulations and carbon-capture technologies to address both sources of CO2 emissions.

A further $20.4m will go to cross-sector decarbonisation technologies that can be deployed across all industrial sub-sectors. These projects will focus on innovations that can lead to energy and emissions reductions across multiple industrial sectors including industrial heat pump technologies and technologies to generate power from low-temperature waste heat.

Yesterday, GE Aerospace said that a survey of aviation experts showed that the majority are not convinced that the sector will become carbon neutral by the stated 2050 goal.

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