DOE report launches $104M technology-fueled emissions reduction push

Published on September 09, 2022 by Chris Galford

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In support of the Biden administration’s climate focus, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week announced a $104 million fund for emissions reduction technologies and released a new report identifying paths American industry could take to decarbonize.

The report – Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap – showed four paths the DOE described as key to reducing industrial emissions in American manufacturing. These four pathways included:

  • Energy efficiency: deemed the most cost-effective option in the near-term, this would include smart manufacturing and advanced data analytics
  • Industrial electrification: utilizing advancements in low-carbon electricity from grid and onsite renewable generation sources
  • Low carbon fuels, feedstocks, and energy sources (LCFFES): substituting low and no-carbon fuel and feedstocks through things like biofuels and bio feedstocks
  • Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS): permanent geologic storage and developing processes to utilize captured CO2 to create new materials

“America’s industrial sector is critical to our economy and daily lives, yet it currently accounts for an enormous portion of greenhouse gas emissions and is particularly difficult to decarbonize,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap will help put the nation on the path to achieving President Biden’s agenda of a cleaner industrial sector that benefits workers and revitalizes communities while providing a healthier environment for all Americans.”

Separately, the $104 million was set up as a funding opportunity to bolster industrial decarbonization technologies. Applicants should apply any of the pathways to energy-intensive industries and demonstrate how decarbonization technologies could impact them. Concept papers are due by Oct. 12, 2022, but final applications have until Dec. 20, 2022.

According to the DOE, the industrial sector remains one of the most difficult areas to decarbonize. As of last year, it accounted for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, the Roadmap centered on five energy-intensive sectors therein: iron/steel, cement/concrete, food/beverage, chemical manufacturing, and petroleum refining. Together, they account for more than 50 percent of the energy-related CO2 emissions from the industrial sector.

In response to the new report, Ed Rightor, industrial program director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and co-chair of the report’s development team, said in a statement that addressing these greenhouse gas emissions would require a common plan – and the roadmap was a jump start for such efforts.

“The U.S. has supported research and development of clean industrial technologies for years, and while that remains critical, it’s not enough to meet the climate challenge,” Rightor said. “The plan released today from the Department of Energy embodies a bolder approach, where it will work with companies to demonstrate and deploy low-carbon industrial technologies to scale. It’s a more ambitious strategy, grounded in a cohesive approach incorporating partnership opportunities for industry to accelerate decarbonization.”

Among recommendations from the team were to advance early-stage research and development efforts, invest in multiple strategies for decarbonization, demonstrate and scale-up efforts, and undertake modeling and system analyses to chart lifecycles and techno-economic value.