The Biden administration on Friday announced up to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in the development of two large-scale facilities to remove carbon emissions, the first of this scale in the United States.
The initiative aims to kickstart a nationwide network of large-scale carbon removal sites to address legacy carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution and complement rapid emissions reductions, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement.
These two direct air capture facilities, in Texas and Louisiana, are expected to eliminate more than 2 million tons of CO2 emissions each year, which is equivalent to the annual emissions from roughly 445,000 gas-powered cars.
Each of the projects will remove 250 times more CO2 from the air than the largest carbon capture site currently in operation, the agency said.
The new investments by the Biden administration are part of a major infrastructure bill passed in 2021.
“Cutting back on our carbon emissions alone won’t reverse the growing impacts of climate change,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in the statement.
“We also need to remove the CO2 that we’ve already put in the atmosphere – which nearly every climate model makes clear is essential to achieving a net-zero global economy by 2050,” she said.
The Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, also known as Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR), focuses on the CO2 already emitted into the air.
Unlike carbon capture technology, which captures carbon as it’s being produced by a facility before it reaches the atmosphere, DAC acts like a giant air purifier, and separates carbon that is already in the air and pumping it underground or into rocks for permanent storage, Business Insider reported.
The Texas site is expected to store up to 3 billion tons of CO2 in saline formations under the hub.