The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced approximately $6.7 million in federal funding for cost-shared projects that will develop technologies that utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants to produce useful products. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy is seeking these projects as part of the Department’s Carbon Storage program, which has the goal of developing and advancing technologies to improve the effectiveness of carbon storage, reduce the cost of implementation, and be ready for widespread commercial deployment in the 2025–2035 timeframe.

Carbon capture and storage is a key component of national efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide is first captured from large point sources, such as coal-fired power plants, then transported to a storage site and deposited where it is not able to enter the atmosphere. Often, in a process called geologic sequestration, the captured CO2 is injected into underground geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas fields, un-mineable coal seams, and saline formations, where it cannot escape. Another option is to use the CO2 as a reagent to create useful products, such as cement, plastics, or liquid fuels.

The new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) focuses on the second of these pathways which is focused on securing applications for projects that will develop CO2-utilization technologies that produce useful products at lower cost than currently available technologies, without generating additional greenhouse gas emissions. Awards made from the FOA will validate the concept, estimate the technology cost, and demonstrate that the carbon lifecycle of the products can offer a true carbon reduction.

The funding opportunity announcement, entitled Applications for Technologies Directed at Utilizing Carbon Dioxide from Coal Fired Power Plants, has three areas of Interest:

Biological based concepts for beneficial use of CO2—This topic area is focused exclusively on the biological utilization of CO2 contained in flue gas exiting a desulfurization unit (prior to entering a downstream CO2-capture and -purification unit). Projects will address key technical barriers to improve the technical and economic feasibility of biological CO2 utilization and address the challenges associated with integrating biological CO2 utilization processes with coal-fired power plants.

Mineralization concepts utilizing CO2 with industrial wastes—The objective of this topic area is to support technology development for innovative concepts that utilize CO2 to react with industrial wastes, such as tailings from mining operations, and stabilize the CO2 in mineral form, resulting in salable products and/or recovery of valuable minerals or chemicals from these waste materials.

Novel physical and chemical processes for beneficial use of carbon—Projects in this topic area will demonstrate innovative concepts for beneficial use of CO2 via novel physical and/or chemical conversion processes, including high-energy systems and nano-engineered catalysts that can transform CO2 into valuable products and chemicals while significantly reducing energy demand for the conversion process.

Learn more about this funding opportunity here.

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research, development and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced carbon technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit our website or sign up for FE news announcements.