by Micah Bucy
Now that President Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, long awaited projects from clean water to broadband internet to highway improvements can begin. The Jobs Act also provides up to $8 billion in funds for activities related to carbon capture, including $3.5 billion to develop 4 “direct-air carbon capture hubs”, $2.5 billion to develop large-scale carbon storage facilities, $1.8 billion in low-interest loans for carbon transportation projects, and $300 million to be disbursed via state and local grants to implement carbon utilization projects.
For the uninitiated, carbon capture (aka carbon sequestration) is a process that literally captures carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the Earth’s atmosphere before transporting the captured CO 2 and storing it deep underground in an effort to mitigate the greenhouse gas’ harmful global warming effects. Once stored by injecting it deep underground, the stored CO 2 is neutralized in terms of its global warming effects. In some instances, the CO2 can be repurposed in manufacturing processes and perhaps, according to one team of scientists, even in the production of an ethanol-based fuel.
The idea of carbon capture is not new. It’s been around since the 1970s and currently there are 65 carbon capture projects that are either operational or in development worldwide, including more than 10 projects in the United States. The idea behind carbon capture is to lessen the effects of CO 2 on the atmosphere, but we currently live in a world where CO 2 generation is drastically greater than what the current 65 projects can capture. The Jobs Act and the funding earmarked for carbon capture is America’s attempt to be a world-leader in decreasing the amount of CO 2 put into the atmosphere. The Jobs Act takes the necessary comprehensive approach to implementing these large-scale projects and reaching these ambitious goals by providing funds for each step in the carbon capture process: $3.5 billion to capture, $1.8 billion to transport, $2.5 billion to store, and $300 million to promote and implement the repurposing of captured carbon.
The Jobs Act provides the frameworks for how these funds will be disbursed and, in many instances, their disbursement may be made via competitive application processes. So, if you have an interest in pursuing any part of the carbon capture process, then you should start thinking and planning out your project now. A key part of this process is assembling a team, including knowledgeable regulatory attorneys and experienced grant application writers, that can assist you in submitting the best possible proposal during the upcoming competitive application process.