Obama sets $2.4bn to capture CO2 at chem sites, utilities

15 May 2009 18:20  [Source: ICIS news]

US adds funds to capture CO2 at chemical plants, utilitiesWASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The Obama administration said on Friday it will spend $2.4bn (€1.8bn) in part to advance carbon capture and storage (CCS) applications at chemical plants, utilities and other industrial facilities that burn coal.

Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu said the funding will come out of the $787bn federal economic stimulus plan approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on 17 February.

Chu announced the new carbon emissions reduction effort at a meeting in Washington of the National Coal Council, an advisory group established by the department in 1984 and made up of coal sector stakeholders.

Chu said the $2.4bn will be spent on a variety of research and development (R&D) projects “to expand and accelerate the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage technology”.

“To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must accelerate our efforts to capture and store carbon in a safe and cost effective way,” Chu told the coal advisory group.

He said the funding would “help position the US to lead the world in CCS technologies, which will be in increasing demand in the years ahead”.

Chu spoke as the US House of Representatives was expected to issue the first public draft of a major climate control bill that includes a cap-and-trade emissions mandate. 

That mandate would, among other things, impose a carbon tax on utility and industrial emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and is expected to put the highest cost burden on coal-fired electric power plants.

The US gets about half of its electricity supply from coal-fired plants.

The secretary said that $800m of the total funding would expand the department’s existing clean coal power initiative, which provides federal co-financing for new coal technologies that can help utilities cut their emissions.

But the bulk of the new funding package, $1.52bn, will pay for competitive projects that hold promise for large-scale carbon capture and storage applications at industrial sites such as chemical plants, cement producers and manufacturers of steel and aluminum, he said.

Part of that spending is to stimulate “innovative concepts for beneficial CO2 use and CO2 capture from the atmosphere”, Chu said.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Joe Kamalick
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