DOE Unveils $135 Million Investment to Propel Industrial Decarbonization in America

Highlights :

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a substantial investment of $135 million in 40 projects aimed at industrial decarbonization, crucial in driving the nation towards a net-zero emissions economy by 2050
DOE Unveils $135 Million Investment to Propel Industrial Decarbonization in America

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a substantial investment of $135 million in 40 projects aimed at industrial decarbonization, crucial in driving the nation towards a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. By advancing transformative and innovative technologies, these projects will play a significant role in decarbonizing the U.S. industrial sector.

“America’s industrial sector serves as the engine of the U.S. economy, producing many of the products we rely on every day, but also produces a significant amount of the nation’s carbon emissions,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “These projects funded by President Biden’s Investing in American agenda will slash industrial emissions and accelerate next-generation technologies for a clean energy future that’s made in America.”

The U.S. industrial sector currently accounts for one-third of all energy-related domestic greenhouse gas emissions. It presents unique challenges when it comes to decarbonization. Achieving a net-zero industrial sector requires a comprehensive and aggressive approach that not only addresses emissions but also creates high-quality jobs and enhances the competitiveness of the sector.

In 2022, the DOE released the Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap, which outlines key strategies for reducing industrial emissions. The roadmap focuses on five energy-intensive subsectors that have the greatest potential for impact: cement and concrete, chemicals, food and beverage, iron and steel, and petroleum refining.

The selected projects, primarily funded through the DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, will be led by 36 different universities, National Laboratories, and companies across 21 states. These initiatives will support research, development, and pilot-scale demonstrations aimed at reducing energy usage and emissions in the targeted subsectors. These subsectors, along with paper and forest products, account for over 50 per cent of the energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the industrial sector.

Industries for Decarbonization

Selected projects are part of DOE’s Technologies for Industrial Emissions Reduction Development Program (TIEReD), which leverages resources across the Department’s applied research offices to invest in fundamental science, research, development, initial pilot-scale demonstration projects, and technical assistance and workforce development.

Decarbonizing Chemicals (9 projects, $38.3 million): The chosen projects will enhance energy efficiency and mitigate the carbon footprint associated with the manufacturing of high-volume chemicals. These initiatives will specifically concentrate on optimizing unit operations, such as advanced separations and advanced reactors. Additionally, they will explore alternative production methods and process heating technologies, aiming to minimize environmental impacts.

Decarbonizing Iron and Steel (10 projects, $31.9 million): The projects associated with this subject play a crucial role in laying the groundwork for the Low Emissions Steel Manufacturing Research Program by the Department of Energy (DOE). Working in collaboration with the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, the chosen projects within this domain will concentrate on innovative developments that facilitate the decarbonization of iron and steel production operations, whether they are ore-based or scrap-based. Furthermore, these projects aim to transform supplementary and thermal processes in the iron and steel industry to utilize clean fuels or electricity.

Decarbonizing Food and Beverage Products (3 projects, $11.4 million): Tackling emissions from one of the largest energy-consuming and GHG-emitting industries of the country, these projects will focus on innovative technologies that decarbonize process heating operations within the food and beverage sector.

Decarbonizing Cement and Concrete (5 projects, $16.4 million): In the U.S. cement industry, CO2 emissions come from two sources: process-related emissions from calcination (58%) and energy-related CO2 emissions (42%). The selected projects in this area will target next-generation cement formulations, process routes, and carbon capture and utilization technologies to tackle both emission sources.

Decarbonizing Paper and Forest Products (6 projects, $16.2 million): Decarbonizing this industry includes increasing the share of renewable energy used, electrification, carbon capture, and energy efficiency. Projects will focus on novel paper and wood drying technologies and innovative pulping and paper forming technologies.

Cross-Sector Decarbonization Technologies (7 projects, $20.4 million): These projects will focus on innovations that can lead to energy and emissions reductions across multiple industrial sectors including industrial heat pump technologies and technologies to generate power from low-temperature waste heat.

Through these investments and collaborative efforts, the DOE aims to drive innovation, foster sustainable practices, and propel the industrial sector towards a cleaner and more efficient future. In addition, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Industrial Demonstrations Program has allocated $6 billion to support the demonstration and deployment of transformative technologies essential for decarbonizing the industrial sector.

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