Our New Name is also a New Vision
By Jennifer Wilcox, Acting Assistant Secretary & Shuchi Talati, Chief of Staff
Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, U.S. Department of Energy
The Office of Fossil Energy officially added “Carbon Management” to its name as of July 4, 2021. This change signifies that our vision has changed: The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that to meet our climate goals, we have to manage the carbon that comes with the legacy and continued use of fossil fuels.
Rising to the challenge of the climate crisis – and seizing the opportunity to do things better – is one of the Administration’s primary goals.
Our job is– above all – to limit the climate and environmental impacts of fossil fuels. Adding “carbon management” encompasses this vision fully into our name, so that everyone across the Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal government, and the country has a better understanding of what we do.
The Department of Energy has a major leadership role in the Biden Administration’s all-of-government approach to addressing the climate emergency. Our agency uses its unparalleled scientific strength, based in our 17 National Laboratories, to engage the best available research to combat the climate crisis. Our agency takes designs for a new, clean energy economy off the drawing board and makes them into real world solutions. The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) is an integral part of these solutions.
FECM is using our extensive research capabilities to minimize the climate and environmental impacts of fossil energy and to advance carbon management – in many ways. Among them, point source carbon capture, carbon dioxide (CO2) removal, CO2 conversion into products, reliable CO2 storage; blue hydrogen production; and critical mineral production from industrial and mining waste.
Point source carbon capture and reliable storage (CCS), as well as CO2 removal to address our hardest to decarbonize sectors, are essential to meeting our climate goals. Many international bodies, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the International Energy Agency, recognize that these are essential technologies for a low-carbon economy at the lowest possible cost.
DOE is a global leader in the research and development of CCS, carbon removal, reliable storage, and the conversion of CO2 into products. FECM, along with its industry and commercial partners, has long been at the forefront of researching and developing these critical technologies. FECM is the key to developing and deploying low-carbon supply chains like cement and concrete, steel, paper, fuel, nylon polyester, and other important products.
Going forward, we know that sourcing low-carbon hydrogen will be critical to produce fuels and chemicals with CO2 as a feedstock. There’s potential for applying carbon capture to help advance a low-cost and low-carbon hydrogen economy.
Our office is also responsible for ensuring there are NOx controls to limit any air pollution when it comes to using hydrogen for power.
Our research on critical minerals and rare earth elements offers potential support to our renewable energy supply chain and our national security. Coal and its waste byproducts can help supply critical minerals that are essential to making solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, all of which are essential to our clean energy transition
FECM is dedicated to pursuing these important technologies to make sure we can reach our net-zero goals in a just and sustainable way. It is not just about the research and development (R&D) we support, but how and where we implement that R&D. We’re committed to improving the conditions of communities impacted by the legacy and continued use of fossil fuels, and we envision a clean energy transition that produces good-paying jobs.
Learn more about our evolving work at /science-innovation/energy-sources/fossil
 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Summary for Policymakers, available at https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf.
 International Energy Administration, CCUS in Clean Energy Transitions, available at https://www.iea.org/reports/ccus-in-clean-energy-transitions.