Department Of Energy's Next Earthshot Targets Cheap CO2 Removal

The Department of Energy has an initiative it calls "Energy Earthshots," which is a play on the word moonshot in reference to technologies that will help protect Earth from climate change. The initiative aims to usher in cheaper, more reliable, and "abundant" clean energy innovations over the next decade. The latest project announced under the initiative revolves around carbon dioxide (CO2) removal from the atmosphere.

The third project under the Energy Earthshots initiative is the Department of Energy's "Carbon Negative Shot." US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm announced the effort on Friday, revealing plans to strip gigatons of CO2 from Earth's atmosphere and "durably store" it at a cheaper rate than existing solutions.

Assuming Carbon Negative Shot achieves its goal, the effort will enable carbon dioxide removal at a cost of less than $100 per ton of net CO2 equivalent, according to Granholm. The DOE describes this latest Earthshot effort as "an all-hands-on-deck call" for technologies related to carbon dioxide removal.

This marks the first major federal carbon dioxide removal effort in the US and is part of the government's larger plan to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and the shift in climates that result.

Beyond the environmental benefits, the DOE notes the latest Earthshot will generate new high-quality jobs while reducing dependency on "dirty" energy like fossil fuels, which release a considerable amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Many concepts have been proposed in the field of carbon sequestration, which refers to capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide and either repurposing it or storing it in a way that prevents it from escaping back into the atmosphere.

In her statement about the Energy Earthshot "Carbon Negative Shot" effort, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said:

By slashing the costs and accelerating the deployment of carbon dioxide removal — a crucial clean energy technology — we can take massive amounts of carbon pollution directly from the air and combat the climate crisis. With our Carbon Negative Shot, we can help remove the greenhouse gases already warming our planet and affecting our health—positioning America as a net-zero leader and creating good-paying jobs for a transitioning clean energy workforce. The combination of the Carbon Negative Shot with our massive investments in hydrogen, battery storage, renewables and decarbonized fossil energy, can make net-zero emissions a reality here and abroad.