A message from the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM)

Dr. Jennifer Wilcox

This year has been a momentous one for our office! We added “Carbon Management” to our name and updated our mission to reflect our new focus: to minimize the environmental impacts of fossil fuels and help the nation achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

As we close out the year, I am very proud of how the FECM team has shifted efforts to support the Biden-Harris Administration in meeting its climate and equity goals—a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, 100 percent clean electricity by 2035, net-zero emissions by 2050, and the Justice40 Initiative. In 2021, FECM awarded nearly $265 million in funding to public and private research institutions toward 112 projects that support these goals.

Please join me in recognizing several of the amazing strides FECM has made this year alone, as we work to accelerate carbon management research and development activities across the United States to address climate change head-on.

Dr. Jennifer Wilcox
Acting Assistant Secretary, FECM

2021 HIGHLIGHTS

FECM Announced New Name, Structure, and Mission Centered on Addressing Climate Change

The Office of Fossil Energy officially added “Carbon Management” to its name on July 4, reflecting our changed vision. In December, we announced a shift in our structure to further center FECM’s priorities on work that will pave the way for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. These priorities include expanding the reach of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies; investing in carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies; reducing methane emissions from the fossil fuel supply chain; advancing a clean hydrogen economy; and developing domestic sources of the critical minerals that will be required in a clean energy economy.

This restructuring also refocused our efforts to support a healthy economic transition that accelerates the growth of good-paying jobs and to address the energy inequities  plaguing our country. FECM is dedicated to prioritizing environmental justice and equity to ensure that the energy transition does not disproportionally impact disadvantaged communities and brings the benefits of our investments to those people and areas of the country that need it the most.

FECM Announced $211.5 Million to Advance Carbon Management Research and Development Efforts

Since January, FECM has awarded $197 million across 40 research projects to advance carbon management approaches, including CCS and CDR, and has made another $14.5 million available to support direct air capture and storage coupled to low carbon energy sources.

Some key highlights include:

FECM’s Dr. Jennifer Wilcox and Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm Launched Key Carbon Management Initiatives at COP26

At this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Secretary Granholm made history when she launched Carbon Negative Shot, the third target in the Energy Earthshots Initiative. Carbon Negative Shot is an all-hands-on-deck call to develop the emerging CDR industry and deploy innovative approaches to  remove and durably store CO2 from the atmosphere in a just and sustainable way.

FECM also launched CDR Mission, under Mission Innovation. The CDR Mission will become the world's first public-private partnership to accelerate innovation in CDR, putting these technologies on a path to remove 100 million metric tons of CO2 per year globally by 2030.

FECM Awarded More Than $25 Million to Accelerate Progress on Clean Hydrogen Research

In 2021, FECM awarded more than $25 million across 25 projects to advance clean hydrogen technology. Clean hydrogen can be produced from natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind, making it an attractive fuel option and input for transportation, electricity generation, and industrial applications. Making it cheaper and easier to produce means clean hydrogen can help reduce carbon emissions and advance the Administration's goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.

The projects selected this year will help advance the use of clean hydrogen by:

FECM Created Research Opportunities for Underrepresented Students in STEM

In May, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $17 million for college internships, research opportunities, and research projects that connect talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students and faculty with world-class resources at DOE’s National Laboratories.

Awardees represented academic institutions from all across America—including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions—highlighting DOE’s commitment to supporting a highly-skilled, diverse workforce that is equipped to tackle the science, energy, environmental, and national security challenges of today and tomorrow.

FECM also welcomed Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Summer Fellows for their 10-week internship, where they gained hands-on experience in energy research. Created in 1995 to improve opportunities for underrepresented students in STEM fields and strengthen a diverse pipeline of future STEM professionals, this year’s program included 54 undergraduate and graduate students representing 44 universities from 20 states and Puerto Rico.

FECM Hosted the Year-End 12.01 Carbon Management Webinar

Finishing the year strong, FECM hosted the 12.01 Carbon Management Webinar on December 1.  The webinar featured FECM carbon management experts and covered several important announcements, including: 

  • A notice of intent to fund projects for geologic carbon storage under DOE’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise Initiative.
  • A memorandum of understanding establishing cooperation between FECM and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey to assess global, regional, and national resources for geologic carbon storage.
  • A request for information on the demonstration of carbon reduction and removal technologies to help guide the selection and management of critical climate investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

That’s a wrap! To keep up to date with future FECM announcements, blogs, and more, sign up for our news alerts.