As a primary component of many materials and most fuels, carbon is the backbone of the modern global economy. The economy’s fundamental reliance on carbon presents the evolving challenge of managing this resource more efficiently as well as the opportunity to enable a future economy that serves as a tool to manage carbon circularly. The efficient management of carbon throughout its lifecycle from atmospheric CO2 through organic products and back to CO2 will require new strategies and advanced technologies to be developed and made available in all sectors of our economy. Crosscutting technologies, especially those for the land, agricultural, and energy sectors, will be uniquely important for realizing a Circular Carbon Economy (CCE), which presents the opening for USDA and DOE to discuss shared challenges and opportunities.
Further, these technologies provide an opportunity to address challenges to our food and energy security, such as climate change, natural resource and land limitations, and continued population growth. Although addressing these varied challenges will require targeted strategies, there are intersections around carbon management and removal that would serve to enable a CCE and permit broad opportunities to solve these challenges simultaneously.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will convene a summit to consider the challenges, opportunities, and needs involved in realizing the CCE. The summit will focus on defining and valuing ecosystem services in the context of a carbon-based economy; renewable fuels and energy; agricultural technology and innovation; land management; carbon cycles and sequestration (both engineered and natural); and lifecycle, sustainability and technoeconomic analyses. Positioning the United States as a major architect of a sustainable and resilient CCE is critical for maintaining economic competitiveness in the future, and DOE and USDA will use stakeholder input from this workshop to develop a federal roadmap that identifies the technical advancements needed to realize the CCE.
For more information about the Summit on Realizing the Circular Carbon Economy: Charting a Course for Innovations in Agriculture and Energy, please contact David Babson (David.Babson@ee.doe.gov) or Sarah Federman (Sarah.Federman@osec.usda.gov).