Conservatives Are Cutting A Clear Path To Solving Climate Change. Here’s How (Daily Caller)

This op-ed was originally published by The Daily Caller on December 9, 2022. Click here to read the entire piece.

Congressional leadership transitions bring forth new committee assignments, new priorities and a new energy policy vision. While some suggest a new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives will work to undo recent efforts on addressing climate change, we disagree with that premise.

Look, economic inflation, high gas and electricity prices, unrest in Eastern Europe, increasing global carbon dioxide emissions and global supply chain chaos are all realities. Combined, there is an ongoing global energy crisis.

But how to solve this crisis has created false choices in Washington. Debates on renewables versus fossils, economy versus environment, or 100% global emissions reduction versus inaction in the U.S. are clouding the path forward on the global challenge.

The truth is, no nation, government or business will achieve climate goals and see economic success unless we eliminate those false choices and leverage all energy resources on the table.

We need to focus on policies that make new and emerging clean energy technologies more affordable, not policies that make existing energy more expensive and harder to produce.

Democrats have historically proposed top-down climate policies like mandates, heavy regulations, or new taxes. Yet global emissions, the only real measure of success or failure in solving climate change, continue to increase...

Click here to read the full article

New Faces at Climate Week NYC 2022 — Oil & Gas Executives

This year at Climate Week NYC, ClearPath joined the American Petroleum Institute (API) to host a first-of-its-kind event. Instead of attacking the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, conversations highlighted how these industries are perhaps best suited to lead the energy transition at scale.

The event brought together top thought leaders, project developers, investors, and senior Department of Energy officials to discuss how technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), hydrogen deployment, direct air capture (DAC) are putting America on a clear path to global energy leadership and dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Providing these technologies with a larger climate platform and gathering the right people in a room to discuss implementing the largest low-carbon energy investment programs in U.S. history is something we need a lot more of.

Oil & Gas Companies Take a Leading Climate Role

Economic inflation, high gas and electricity prices, post-Covid global supply chain chaos, Russia‘s war in Ukraine, and China's effort to dominate markets have all combined to create an ongoing global energy crisis. At ClearPath, we want to tackle the big question — how do we address this crisis and restore American energy independence while working to solve the climate challenge?

You often hear us talk about moving beyond the false choices that have dominated climate discussions: renewables versus fossils, economy versus environment, 100% emissions reduction around the world versus inaction here at home. The truth is, no country, state, city or business will achieve climate goals AND increase supply AND see economic success unless all energy resources are on the table.

A new industrial revolution and clean energy transformation requires an enormous amount of collaboration. Renewables, critical minerals, nuclear energy, hydrogen and fossil fuels — none of these resources get developed or built by themselves in America. It takes private companies with development expertise partnering with institutions to provide access to capital, and both partnering with federal and state governments to allow them to actually put a shovel and some steel in the ground. If this clicks, America will have the technologies needed to make the global clean energy transition cheaper and faster. If it doesn’t, China or Russia will happily lead.

R&D Funding and Tax Incentives That Contributed to the Development of Shale Gas Extraction Technology

One of the greatest examples in America of both clean energy innovation and public private partnership came from the oil and gas industry. In the 1980s, Texas entrepreneur George Mitchell figured out how to break up shale rocks to release the natural gas stuck inside. This process, called hydraulic fracturing, initially got off the ground with support from the Department of Energy (DOE), which cost-shared R&D and demonstrations in the 1980s and 90s and tax credits from the 80s to early 2000s.

Combined-cycle natural gas turbines now produce 24/7 reliable, affordable power. That early stage investment and production tax credit, together valued at more than $10 billion, expired as the technology matured. Now we have a $100 billion annual shale gas market in America, and 20 percent lower emissions in the U.S. between 2005-2020. Those are the win-wins we need across our energy portfolio.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage and direct air capture are two breakthrough technologies that could further reduce the emissions profile of American-produced natural gas. Given the projected increase in global demand, American-produced natural gas will facilitate lower emissions and improve global energy security.

Clean hydrogen produced from renewables, fossil energy with CCUS, or nuclear energy can also greatly reduce emissions in the industrial, transportation, and power sectors. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agrees, with low-carbon scenarios all including a significant role for CCUS, hydrogen and DAC. At Climate Week, we heard from companies like Shell, Chevron, Enbridge, Bloom Energy, Climeworks, Baker Hughes, Global Thermostat, and others who are pursuing these clean technologies.

The U.S. has both a cost and energy security advantage relative to our Russian, Middle Eastern, and other global competitors when exporting hydrogen produced from natural gas with a high rate of carbon capture. This is due to abundant U.S. gas supplies and current policy, like the 45Q tax credit, which has no international equivalent.

To address these big opportunities, the Climate Week event featured remarks from top executives, DOE, and three panels:


Thanks to our speakers: Gretchen Watkins, President, Shell USA; Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management; Aaron Padilla, Vice President of Corporate Policy, API; Sasha Mackler, Executive Director of the Energy Program, Bipartisan Policy Center; Michelle George, Vice President of New Energy Technologies, Enbridge; Jeff Gustavson, President, Chevron New Energies; Sharelynn Moore, Chief Marketing Officer; Dr. Julio Friedmann, Chief Scientist, Carbon Direct; Andrew Fishbein, Senior Climate Policy Manager, Climeworks; Nigel Jenvey, Managing Partner for New Frontiers, Baker Hughes; Emily Chasan, Contributing Editor, Greenbiz; Robin Millican, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Breakthrough Energy; Scott Roose, Global Head of ESG Financing, Credit Suisse; and Dr. Gregory Thiel, Director of Technology, Energy Impact Partners.

Federal Climate Policies Leading To Clean Energy Project Development

In December 2020, Congress passed and President Trump signed the bipartisan Energy Act which modernizes and refocuses DOE’s research and development programs to scale up clean energy technologies.

The law empowered Congress and DOE to launch the most aggressive commercial scale technology demonstration program in U.S. history. Ultimately it established a massive goal of more than 20 full commercial scale demos by the mid-2020s.

In November 2021, Congress enacted the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which funded a wide-range of low-carbon energy demonstration programs, including CCUS, DAC, energy storage, geothermal, hydrogen, nuclear and industrial decarbonization solutions.

Now that Congress has allocated the funding, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is in the process of implementing the IIJA demonstration programs consistent with Congressional direction to maximize the impact of taxpayer resources and ensure that projects are not only selected, but implemented. Success is only possible with strong partnerships, open dialogue, and collaboration between project developers in the private sector and DOE.

Deploying these low-carbon energy technologies as fast as possible is critical for addressing the climate change challenge long term, and successful implementation will advance the shared goals of industry and policymakers: continuing the positive trend of U.S. emissions reduction. Importantly, it will also help transition many sectors of the U.S. economy to cleaner fuels and operations while leveraging the industry’s deep expertise and creating jobs.

There are many parts of our economy where we don’t yet have the cleaner, cost-effective alternatives available at scale needed to build the energy system of the future and help achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Act of 2020 and IIJA funding paired with incentives will help America get there.

For example, between the $12 billion for CCUS programs, $8 billion for clean hydrogen hubs, $3.5 billion for DAC hubs, and the 45Q tax credit, new clean energy facilities will soon be established across the U.S.

If done correctly, this public-private partnership effort will be greater than anything we’ve seen in recent history. Not only will developers be able to grow the domestic supply of low-carbon energy and the industrial sector be able to decarbonize its operations, together we can advance the next generation of cleaner energy technologies that could solve both the near-term global energy and geopolitical crisis and the long-term climate change challenge.

ClearPath’s Clean Energy Innovation Academy Brings Congressional Staff to Illinois

Energy independence is American independence, and research, development, and deployment of American-made clean energy technologies are necessary for getting us there. The U.S. has an abundance of energy resources, and exciting opportunities lie ahead.

Americans are hard at work developing clean energy technologies here at home. Scientists and engineers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Laboratories as well as private energy companies are making strides in nuclear and other clean energy technologies.

Illinois, home to Argonne National Laboratory and Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station, was the perfect first stop for ClearPath’s Clean Energy Innovation Academy (CEIA). CEIA, launched in 2020, is an ongoing educational series for Congressional staff focused on conservative clean energy technology and policy. We were thrilled to bring a delegation of 10 Congressional staff to Illinois for this year’s CEIA educational trip to explore two exciting facilities accelerating research, development, and operation of American clean energy technologies. The delegation included staff who work for Members on the House Science, Space & Technology, House Energy and Commerce, House Ways and Means, Senate Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees as well as the Congressional Western Caucus.

These staff joined us to expand their understanding of innovations in the American clean energy industry that will make the global energy transition cheaper and faster. While in Chicago, we had a packed schedule of educational events, including these highlights:

Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station

Our first stop was Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station in Braceville, IL. Braidwood is a two unit 2,389 MW nuclear power plant owned and operated by Constellation Energy. The facility powers about two million homes and employs nearly 700 employees southwest of Chicago.

While there, the Congressional staff visited several parts of the plant to understand how the site’s twin reactors produce electricity. Highlights included the two turbine-generators converting the plants steam into electricity, the main control room at the heart of the plant, and the spent fuel pool which stores fuel after powering the reactor. Braidwood staff answered numerous questions on how the plant operated, inspections and maintenance, what different dials and switches do in the control room, and the different kinds of jobs at a nuclear plant.

Stations like Braidwood are America’s clean energy workhorses, producing zero carbon dioxide emissions as they operate. According to the 2021 report Clear Path to a Clean Energy Future, maintaining existing nuclear reactors is one of the cheapest ways to help meet utility commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

Unfortunately, a lot of development of nuclear technology – a crucial technology for reducing emissions – is done outside of the U.S. In fact, only 2 out of the 52 nuclear reactors currently under construction across the globe are American reactors. But thankfully, there is an exciting wave of next-generation reactors going through the design process today.


Argonne National Laboratory

The delegation also visited Argonne National Laboratory, America’s first national lab, established in 1946 as part of the Manhattan Project. Argonne is a multidisciplinary science and engineering lab with unique capabilities and world-class facilities.


Front Row L to R: Daniel Dziadon, Amanda Sollazzo, Emily Johnson, Greg Warren
Second Row: Parker Bennett, Kalyn Swihart, Hannah Anderson, Tommy Reynolds
Third Row: Ryan Mowrey, Jake Bornstein, Casey Kelly, Niko McMurray, Grant Cummings
Back Row: Luke Bolar, Alex Fitzsimmons, Ashley Higgins, Mike Davin

Photo Credit: Mark Lopez, Argonne National Laboratory

As part of the visit, the delegation toured the Materials Engineering Research Facility, which develops economically viable processes to enable private-sector commercialization of advanced materials for various purposes, including advanced energy storage. Staff also visited Argonne’s Leadership Computing Facility, home to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers, including the forthcoming exascale computing system, Aurora. Upon completion in 2030, Aurora will apply machine learning and other advanced computing techniques to enable deeper insights into scientific disciplines ranging from physics to materials science to clean energy technologies.

In addition, the delegation toured Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials and Advanced Photon Source, two of the lab’s world-class user facilities that partner with industry to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and technology commercialization.

Additional briefings were provided by Oklo Inc., an advanced nuclear reactor startup, and Antora Energy, a group working to electrify heavy industry with thermal energy storage for zero-carbon heat and power.

ClearPath looks forward to continuing its Clean Energy Innovation Academy in 2023.

Recommendations for Implementing the Largest Clean Energy Investment Programs in U.S. History

In November 2021, Congress enacted the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which funded a wide-range of clean energy demonstration programs, including carbon capture, direct air capture, energy storage, geothermal, hydrogen, and industrial. The IIJA built on many of the authorizations in the Energy Act of 2020, which Congress passed and then-President Trump signed into law.

Now that Congress has allocated the funding, it is important for DOE to implement the IIJA demonstration programs consistent with Congressional direction and maximize the impact of taxpayer resources. DOE’s track record of funding large-scale demonstration projects is mixed, but the Department can increase the chances of success by adhering to principles of responsible program management, including rigorous merit review standards and adopting a milestone-based approach, so that projects with the most technical merit get funded.

As DOE prepares to issue funding opportunities in the coming weeks and months, ClearPath has developed a series of memos with recommendations for implementing the IIJA demonstration projects. Each of these memos includes similar principles related to rigorous milestones and responsible stewardship, but each also includes unique recommendations tailored to specific technologies. Brief summaries are included below.


Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Demonstration Program

Read the memo by Jena Lococo

The IIJA included nearly $12 billion for CCUS programs, with nearly $2.54 billion for a demonstration program authorized by the Energy Act. DOE should fund projects with the lowest technical risk and highest potential to deliver on time and on budget. Projects should be large enough to demonstrate on a commercial scale, but not so large that the complexities from scaling up from pilot testing are unclear. DOE should also ensure projects have stable revenue streams and offtake agreements. Finally, the federal government should expedite permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and EPA’s Underground Injection Control Class VI requirements.


Carbon Dioxide Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (CIFIA) Program

Read the memo by Grant Cummings

In the IIJA, Congress appropriated $2.1 billion for the CIFIA program to support the buildout of infrastructure to transport CO2 from where it is captured to where it can be utilized or securely sequestered underground. In addition to this funding, the IIJA allows eligible proposals to take advantage of a secured loan of up to 80% of the project cost. DOE should prioritize geographically diverse projects and be mindful of infrastructure routes already identified by project developers. The federal government should also modernize the NEPA process and couple CIFIA projects with other CCUS programs supported within the IIJA to ensure the deployment of critical CO2 infrastructure.


Direct Air Capture Hubs

Read the memo by Savita Bowman

The IIJA provides $3.5 billion for four regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) hubs, each with the capacity to capture 1 million metric tons (MMt) of CO2 annually. In selecting hub locations, DOE should leverage existing infrastructure and consider co-locating with DOE’s hydrogen hubs and CCUS demonstration sites to leverage pipeline infrastructure. DOE should also set clear timelines and milestones, including ensuring that projects have secured or are working to secure an offtake agreement for their captured CO2 at the time of application.


Energy Storage Demonstration Programs

Read the memo by Alex Fitzsimmons

The IIJA included $505 million for energy storage demonstration projects that were authorized by the Energy Act. DOE should prioritize a diverse portfolio of long-duration, grid-scale energy storage technologies capable of achieving DOE’s performance goals under the Energy Storage Grand Challenge and Storage Shot. Moreover, DOE should develop energy storage technologies that can be manufactured in the U.S. and exported globally, advance technologies that strengthen U.S. energy security and do not depend on supply chains controlled by foreign adversaries, and leverage synergies with other IIJA demonstration programs.


Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Demonstration Program

Read the memo by Alex Fitzsimmons

The IIJA included $84M for EGS demonstration projects from FY22 to FY25, as authorized by the Energy Act. The Energy Act directed DOE to fund four geothermal demonstration projects for power production or direct use, utilizing diverse geologic settings and development techniques. As such, DOE should prioritize technology diversity, geographic diversity, and use case diversity. DOE should also adopt a milestone-based approach and coordinate with DOE’s new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), as there are several other programs under OCED for which geothermal is eligible to compete for funding.


Industrial Demonstration Program

Read the memo by Alex Fitzsimmons

The IIJA included $500 million for industrial emissions reduction demonstration projects that were authorized by the Energy Act. In the Energy Act, Congress directed DOE to focus on a wide range of industrial processes and technologies, with an emphasis on heavy industrial sectors such as iron and steel, cement and concrete, and chemicals. As such, DOE should focus on developing a demonstration program that is both sector-specific and technology-inclusive. DOE should prioritize investments in heavy industrial sub-sectors, leverage synergies with related DOE demonstration programs, and coordinate the demonstration program with the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s (AMO) proposed Manufacturing USA Institute.


Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub Program

Read the memo by Natalie Houghtalen

The IIJA included multiple hydrogen provisions, including $1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program, $500 million for a Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing program, and $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs. Regarding the hydrogen hubs, DOE should consider awarding more than four hubs (the statutory minimum), pursue a multi-solicitation and milestone-based approach, clarify the role of the DOE National Laboratories, establish thoughtful and realistic deadlines, prioritize projects that focus on multi-sector integration and match hydrogen production with end use, and co-locate the fossil-based hydrogen hubs with the IIJA CCS projects.


Conclusion

Congress’ bipartisan IIJA demonstration programs represent an unprecedented opportunity to scale and de-risk emerging clean energy technologies. With thoughtful implementation that focuses on maximizing the impact of taxpayer resources and upholding the principles of responsible project selection and management, DOE can help position the U.S. to build cleaner faster and lead the world in the commercialization, manufacturing, and export of clean energy for decades to come.

ClearPath Leads Congressional Delegation to the Energy Capital of the World

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the innovation. That is exactly why Houston was the first stop on ClearPath’s American Energy Tour.

Houston is emerging as a leader in clean energy innovation, which should be no surprise given its status as the Energy Capital of the World. Horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and deep-water offshore technology all began or are centered in Houston. The Port of Houston is home to the largest petrochemical manufacturing complex in the Americas and petroleum and petroleum products are leading import and export commodities. The area also employs nearly one-third of the nation’s jobs in oil and gas, and is the headquarters for virtually every segment of the energy industry.

Given the energy expertise and experience in the area, Houston’s oil and gas and petrochemical industries are well-suited to lead the energy transition at scale. There are over 30 corporate research and development centers focused on energy technology and innovation in the city. In fact, Texas leads the country for wind capacity and is the location for the first commercial-scale carbon capture facility – which has been operating since 1972.


Left to right: ClearPath Founder Jay Faison, U.S. Reps. Burgess, Lesko, Babin, Weber, Curtis, Johnson, Miller, Pence, and Gosar

ClearPath was thrilled to lead a Congressional Delegation for an educational site visit to the heart of America’s energy industry. The delegation included:

These conservatives came to Houston to learn about the American industries and technologies working to make the global clean energy transition cheaper and faster so they can continue to lead on real solutions to advance bold, innovative, free-market policies that reduce emissions and create American jobs.
While in Houston, the delegation had a packed agenda full of educational activities. Here are a few highlights:

“It was great to be in Houston to visit the NET Power Carbon Capture pilot project, tour a proposed site of a carbon capture and storage hub on the Houston Ship Channel, and meet with industry leaders and stakeholders,” said Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-WV). “We all agree that investing in American energy innovation is vital to the growth and success of our country and world. I am pleased to collaborate with ClearPath on an all-of-the-above energy strategy that pursues innovative technologies like Carbon Capture and bolsters America’s traditional energy sources. Thank you for having me!”

“I am amazed by the leadership and innovation of U.S. companies in the development and deployment of new technology to reduce emissions,” said Congressman John Curtis (R-UT). "The work companies are doing to produce natural gas-generated electricity with zero emissions is critical to our energy future."

"The implementation of these technologies and other U.S. innovations around the world will result in significant global emission reductions while creating U.S. jobs and fostering US leadership and security.”

America is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, from fossil fuels to critical rare earth minerals. More importantly, we’re blessed with an American spirit and passion to innovate. With continued smart policy — such as the Energy Act of 2020 crafted by a bipartisan Congress — we can lead on mitigating the global climate challenge while regaining our place as the global energy leader.

Thanks to this delegation’s leadership, we are already tackling the global climate challenge through clean energy innovation. We look forward to continuing to partner with these Members to continue this exciting trend, while also making America resource independent and keeping energy affordable.

Carbon Management Companies Capturing Our Attention

Carbon capture remains one of the most promising clean energy technologies. It’s becoming widely recognized across party lines for its potential to reduce the environmental footprint of heavy industrial processes and directly remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reaffirmed the important role carbon capture and removal technologies must play in reducing global carbon emissions.

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies are typically viewed as a tool for reducing emissions from coal or natural gas power plants, but they have a wide variety of applications beyond that. Yet some obstacles still remain for nascent, outside-the-box technologies.

For example, the Section 45Q carbon sequestration tax credit is viewed as the single most useful tool in spurring the development of CCUS. The 45Q tax credit rewards qualifying facilities for using carbon capture technologies. Since enacted in 2008, the tax credit has undergone a number of revisions to expand the portfolio of carbon capturing technologies and applications that can claim the credit. Even with revisions, some technologies have been shut out of claiming the credit because they do not fit squarely within the definitions of the legislation. Broadening the applicability of the credit and reframing it to be more technology-inclusive could unlock a wealth of opportunity for companies with innovative solutions. Pair an effective credit with accelerated permitting for carbon storage wells and we could be on a fast track to lower emissions in the U.S.

Several American companies are pushing the boundaries of CCUS technology and have captured our attention — here are just a few:


Remora: Capturing CO2 from Trucks

Emissions from transportation contributed to 29% of the U.S.’ total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, making it the most prominent source of emissions and one of the hardest to abate. One company, Remora, is looking to tackle these emissions, specifically from trucking.

Over 70% of our everyday products are on a truck before we get them. While essential for our economy, semi-trucks are difficult to decarbonize. Many companies are looking to electrify their fleets, but this option can pose quite a few problems: batteries weigh significantly more than diesel components, which reduces the carrying capacity of trucks and could have impacts on roads and bridges, like pavement damage and road deterioration. Not to mention the challenge of decarbonizing and overhauling the grid, building out charging stations around the country, and the considerable cost of replacing existing fleets.

Remora has created a compact device that can capture the CO2 emissions from a semi-truck while it’s driving. The technology uses very little capital and can be retrofitted to existing fleets. The technology is fitted to a tailpipe and acts like a filter, capturing approximately 75% of the CO2 that would otherwise be emitted. The CO2 is then stored within the capture device and can be offloaded into a tank when a driver stops to refuel. Remora plans to sell the captured CO2 to industrial end users, like concrete producers, and sequester it in storage wells. Remora splits any revenue with their customers, helping truck owners pay back the cost of the device in just a few years.

Remora is piloting the technology with 20 multibillion-dollar companies, including many of the largest trucking fleets in the U.S., including Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, and Ryder. If a Remora device was installed on each of the existing two million semi-trucks in the U.S., approximately 260 million tons of CO2 would be captured each year — almost seven times the volume of CO2 currently captured globally!

Semi-trucks aren’t included in the current 45Q, but including mobile sources of carbon capture would continue to lower the cost of this technology and provide another solution for other heavy, hard-to-electrify mobile sources, like cargo ships.


CarbonQuest: Capturing CO2 from Buildings

In New York, the city that never sleeps, more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. The IEA found that globally, buildings account for around 28% of total energy-related CO2 emissions. Building owners that rely on natural gas for heating have few options to reduce their carbon footprint beyond updating all buildings with new expensive boilers. Fortunately, this is where CarbonQuest steps in.

Established in 2019, CarbonQuest is already capturing emissions from large buildings and shipping them via storage trucks to sequestration sites or end-users who will utilize the carbon in products. CarbonQuest has already partnered with large building operators to integrate their capture systems into established buildings powered by large natural gas boilers. The start-up is looking to expand its services and sees this opportunity as especially important to lower-income housing, which typically consists of older buildings reliant on gas for heat and cooking.

Currently, CarbonQuest’s novel modular and flexible designs capture up to 70% of a building’s boiler emissions, but under the right conditions the company believes they can capture upwards of 99%. This provides a viable alternative solution when electrification of a building is cost-prohibitive or not feasible. Access to CO2 transport and storage infrastructure will be needed to rapidly scale and reduce costs at the level required to address rising global emissions. With support from 45Q for carbon capture from buildings, CarbonQuest’s technology could address the rising energy demand of consumers and subsequent emissions of large cities.


Charm Industrial: Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere

Preventing emissions from entering the atmosphere is important, but what about capturing the emissions that are already there? Charm Industrial is looking to turn agricultural waste, such as crop stalks or walnut shells, into a CO2 rich bio-oil and sequestering it deep underground in Class I wells and Class V wells.

In their most recent report, the IPCC notes that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies are necessary to avoid the worst effects from changes in our climate, and WRI estimates that for the U.S., this equates to capturing 2 gigatons (Gt) annually by 2050. However, if we consider direct air capture (DAC), one of the most popular solutions in the high-quality carbon removal toolkit, we are only at a capture capacity of 10,000 metric tons globally — almost two billion short. DAC technologies are drawing investments from large tech companies like Stripe and Shopify, but we need additional help to popularize other technologies that are competing for federal support and market commercialization.

Charm’s solution meets the carbon removal principles of permanent, durable, and scalable — criteria which best-in-class CDR solutions must meet. They are the only carbon removal process to have sequestered more than 5,000 tons of CO2 to date. Yet Charm has not been able to access the 45Q tax credit. The secret to their success, in lieu of federal support, is their novel approach to injecting a carbon-rich liquid that no one had previously thought of injecting. Charm has attracted private voluntary carbon removal purchases from tech companies so far, but to scale up this proven technology and bring it to market sooner, we’ll need to see far more.


Technology Inclusive Policies are Needed

The good news is that these three innovative technologies; transportation, building and atmospheric capture all use the same infrastructure that the current carbon capture and storage industry utilizes, such as carbon storage wells and pipeline infrastructure. But, the newer technologies are often left out of the tax incentive structures, such as the Section 45Q tax credit. Investments in innovation and related public policy solutions are key to lowering the cost of technology development and deployment.

Impactful climate action will require all tools in the innovation toolbox. Investing in all of these tools through continued federal investment in research, development, and demonstration, coupled with technology-inclusive federal incentives, will accelerate the widespread deployment of carbon capture. The innovation is out there — now Congress needs to remove the barriers to make it happen.

A Clean, Innovative, American Energy Agenda (The Washington Times)

This op-ed was originally published by The Washington Times on April 27, 2022. Click here to read the entire piece.

Economic inflation, post-Covid global supply chain chaos, Russia‘s war in Ukraine, and the onslaught of China's effort to dominate markets have combined to bring on a global energy crisis. The question is how do we address these challenges and restore American energy independence while working to solve the climate challenge?

Too often, energy and climate policy is oversimplified to false choices: renewables versus fossils, economy versus environment, 100% emissions reductions globally versus doing nothing at all.

The reality is public policy must focus on making the global clean energy transition cheaper and faster. Rather than trying to make existing energy sources more expensive or off limits, we must pursue a market-driven agenda that makes clean energy more affordable.

On that front, Republicans are leading.

America is blessed with abundance of natural resources, from fossil fuels to critical rare earth minerals. More importantly, we’re blessed with an American spirit and passion to innovate. The clean energy development boom from 2005 to 2020 led to a decrease in U.S. emissions by more than 20% and made the U.S. a global leader in energy production. With continued smart policy — such as the Energy Act of 2020 crafted by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by President Trump — we can lead on mitigating the global climate challenge while regaining our place as the global energy leader.

Click here to read the full article

Hydrogen: A Sure Bet in Uncertain Times

For decades, Europe quenched its thirst for energy with an abundant supply of Russian imports – never envisioning a day when war returned to Europe. The war in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the important and precarious balance America faces in meeting the energy needs of the world today while maintaining national security.

But maintaining this balance is no easy feat – often requiring governments to make difficult choices.

Earlier this month, the Biden Administration announced a ban on the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States as NATO nations seek to turn up the pressure on Vladimir Putin to stop the war. To offset similar curtailments of Russian gas in Europe, the administration just announced it would collaborate with international partners to direct 15 billion cubic meters of liquified natural gas to Europe this year. Becoming truly energy independent and providing our allies with more energy naturally requires a lot more domestic production.

Meanwhile, the Administration has also embarked on a plan to cut emissions by half by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. Not only can new American energy technologies make up that difference domestically, but will lead to major impacts abroad as more nations turn to American products. Unless we modernize energy infrastructure, improve supply chains for materials critical for more clean energy, and embrace our own resource independence, these goals are not achievable.

The Administration Has a Plan to Cut Emissions by Half by 2030 and Achieve Net-Zero by 2050

Energy security and climate ambitions don't necessarily have to conflict. Clean energy innovation provides a win-win scenario. Technologies like hydrogen, a low- to no-carbon energy carrier, can be produced, transported, and used all in America. Harnessing our nation’s energy and resource abundance should be the highest priority to avoid dependence on others to meet American energy demand. Hydrogen provides an avenue to do just that – allowing our nation to utilize its robust natural gas, nuclear and renewable capabilities along with other energy resources. It is a crucial domestic tool to lower emissions and increase national security.

And we aren’t starting from scratch—domestic hydrogen production weighs in at just over 10 million metric tons produced annually and is used in the fertilizer and chemical production industry. In the future, that same hydrogen could be used to power 2.4 million transcontinental flights for a Boeing 747. Harnessing the many pathways to produce hydrogen would create new economic independence, and spur the investments necessary to power a better future.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill established Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs, and states like Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio have already been leading on hydrogen. Other projects recently announced, like SoCalGas's infrastructure pipeline, demonstrate how hydrogen can leverage intermittent renewables to produce clean hydrogen that can decarbonize the biggest U.S. industrial basin. Exelon is also working on generating clean hydrogen in a nuclear plant near Syracuse, New York.

Hydrogen is the smallest atom in the universe. Yet, this tiny molecule has enormous potential to connect energy generation, energy storage, transportation, and industry.

The United States exports more energy than we import, but our dependence on foreign energy puts us at risk. Hydrogen, harnessed from many sources, provides an enviable opportunity to build a domestic energy infrastructure capable of shielding Americans from the fragility of geopolitics, ensuring every household can keep the lights on and providing critical heating and fuel for transportation. Further, thanks to the development of U.S. liquified natural gas export facilities, we can leverage this infrastructure to export hydrogen to our allies in Europe and elsewhere in the future.

Today's energy and national security crisis is driving calls for increased natural gas production, investments in nuclear energy and renewable sources, and modernized permitting processes so we can mine more domestic critical minerals. The growth of these will propel the hydrogen industry forward and allow us to leverage those resources while reducing emissions and meeting climate goals.

Hydrogen remains one of the most promising elements to fully unlock America’s clean energy potential with the ability to leverage the awe-inspiring energy of the Niagara Falls, breathing new life into nuclear plants from Washington to the Carolinas or natural gas in the belly of the Bakken, Permian, and Marcellus Shale basins. American ingenuity is boundless, limited solely by our willingness to take bold and decisive actions to tackle climate change and secure our energy future.

Three Fixes to Build Energy Projects Cleaner and Faster (Scientific American)

This op-ed was originally published by the Scientific American on February 28, 2022. Click here to read the entire piece.

Reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. to net zero is achievable. It’s economically sustainable, environmentally essential, technologically feasible and, with some work, even politically viable. But to have a good chance of reaching net zero, we must change the way we regulate the construction of clean energy projects.

We have all of the building blocks: significant expansion of clean energy research and development in 2005, a series of policies on energy efficiency and alternative fuels in 2007, across-the-board increases in budgets for technology innovation over the past 20 years, and an unheralded “all of the above” energy bill that became part of overall federal appropriations in 2020. In November 2021 the U.S. enacted a bipartisan infrastructure bill that included more than $30 billion of critical funding to build new clean energy projects. The private sector has responded to these initiatives with advances in emissions-reducing technologies such as advanced nuclear, carbon capture for fossil energy, and long-duration, grid-scale energy storage.

Now there is a lot to build. Analyses of the transition to a clean energy economy, from Princeton University’s Net-Zero America project, show that it requires tens of thousands of miles of new pipelines carrying hydrogen and other clean fuels, along with captured carbon dioxide away from power plants and industrial facilities. We also need a vast amount of new and expanded electrical power transmission and distribution infrastructure to carry that type of energy around an increasingly electrified country, as well as thousands of new renewable-energy-generating power plants, both large and small. All of this will underpin the clean energy upgrades to our transportation, industrial, agricultural and municipal infrastructure. This will be the largest and most exciting mainland construction project in U.S. history. Think bigger than President Dwight D. Eisenhower building the federal highway system.

Click here to read the full article

Clean Hydrogen Finds New Energy Markets

Today, hydrogen is mainly used as a chemical in industry for oil refining and fertilizer production, but it has the potential to be another player in the clean energy innovation game. Like electricity, hydrogen is a carrier for energy from any source to virtually any end use, and it is made in a variety of ways that are usually simplified into colors. The smallest element on the periodic table could unlock some of the biggest energy challenges — electricity grid resilience, energy storage, and industrial decarbonization.