Skip to content.
About GPO   |   Newsroom/Media   |   Congressional Relations   |   Inspector General   |   Careers   |   Contact   |   askGPO   |   Help  

  FDsys > More Information
(Search string is required)

S. Hrg. 115-111 - It is difficult to speak authoritatively to scaling of a system like this, but our thought process is to design a system that runs entirely on wind (preferred for cost and availability), wave, or solar power. Those costs we know well today. Our system will most likely require a location where tidal currents bring fresh seawater to the extraction process. This is a cost advantage because those flows are predictable. The value of the created building material must be high, favoring distant islands or places like Japan--industrialized countries that lack those specific resources. On-shore use is likely to be less economic than simple truck-transport of building materials. The seawater exiting the process will be less acidic than the inlet. We anticipate that about 17,000 cubic meters will need to be processed to obtain one ton of CO<INF>2</INF> and two tons of calcium carbonate building material. That seawater will have a pH 0.1 pH units higher than the inlet, which would be a major factor for shellfish larvae which require high pH to make their first shells. Problems that may occur include clogging of the system by sea life (a constant problem for ocean water systems). We do not yet have an understanding of that difficulty. Regarding the feasibility of scaling, we think the chances are good. The ancillary benefits of more building material and less acidification will only increase as the system is deployed at larger scale. As with any new idea, there may be problems that only are exposed by demonstration and testing. We look forward to an opportunity to do that. c. In addition to paying direct air capture a carbon payment for their avoided emissions, like we do in our recently introduced bipartisan CCUS bill. What else can legislators to drive these technologies closer to commercialization? Systems such as the California Low Carbon Fuel System (LCFS) encourage rapid technology development. R&D on capture not from coal fired power is critical. Gas, industry, biofuel all need the kind of R&D that to date has been limited exclusively to coal by legislative language constraints. For the US Dept. of Energy to pilot and demonstrate those systems, amendment to appropriations language from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 budgets would be required. Many potential policies could be considered. The most important and valuable policies would be ones which accomplish two goals. First, they should stimulate innovation for researchers and companies so as to improve performance and cost. Second, they should seek to create market pull for initial products and projects. Such policies could include tax incentives, grants, procurement requirements, product standards, feed-in-tarriffs, portfolio standards, and other policies to stimulate innovation and markets. The U.S. carbon management science effort has been incredibly effective and leads the world, but is almost entirely focused on coal. We believe that natural gas for power and industry, biofuel production, and chemical reactions intrinsic to many industrial processes like steel making, now deserve the attention of the Nation's outstanding scientific resources. R&D in these areas will yield benefits immediately. Fuels remain a major difficulty in U.S. carbon emissions. Two policies could help. 1) Encouragement of biofuel development and carbon management to reduce the carbon footprint of carbon fuels. 2) Encouragement of `overshoot' CO<INF>2</INF> EOR where more CO<INF>2</INF> is used than is needed, effectively reducing the carbon footprint of the oil, would have a very similar effect for fossil fuel production (for example, with residual oil zone (ROZ) production). These two approaches could be encouraged simultaneously by a single approach to low carbon fuels such as enhancing the Federal renewable fuel standard to encourage these approaches. That enhancement would improve the value of a RIN based on a better carbon footprint, encouraging both new processes as we have discussed, and overall efficiency in the production system. The California LCFS, with limited goals, has demonstrated how rapidly a process like this drives innovation. A similar change to RINs could have a nationwide effect, strongly improving the value of fuels made in America with forward-looking environmentally friendly processing. In the longer term, the management of CO<INF>2</INF> in our economy requires a new paradigm which we think of as the carbon economy. CO<INF>2</INF> can be a feedstock, along with natural gas, for most of our industrial chemicals and fuels. The US has rich carbon resources and nearly unlimited renewable power which can create the new carbon economy and all the jobs and industries it entails. Investment at all levels of science and engineering will encourage this result--one we need to have in place by roughly 2050 to have any hope of meeting 2:C. Our renewable revolution took that much time and a major investment of government and academic science, as well as many thoughtful policies to support the creation of new businesses to implement that science. 4. Emissions Free Grid by 2050: Each witness from the hearing discussed different clean air technologies that if developed and commercialized can reduce our emissions footprint. There is international agreement that CCUS and other renewable technologies can play a role in helping us cut emissions consistent with meeting our 2C targets, in a way that is sustainable and economically sound. a. Why are your labs prioritizing research in clean energy technologies like this? As part of our missions for science in public service and to prevent and mitigate national security threats, we believe an emissions-free grid is both necessary and feasible. Investments over the last 20 years have made remarkable progress possible--wind and solar are now are the cheapest sources of power. Carbon capture and storage is demonstrated and safe. The investments in research have demonstrated their value. b. What role will advanced nuclear and carbon capture and utilization play in helping us meet our climate targets and having an emissions free grid by 2050? Costs are now driving utility's choices in power production technology. The biggest gap in the present low-cost technologies is that renewables need something like storage or another zero-carbon source to make up their shortfalls when the wind and sun are not available. Today gas fills that role, but a zero-carbon electric system requires either massive storage with no gas, or CCS on gas. CCS on gas is possible today, and deserves the attention of policymakers. The U.S. vast reserves of natural gas can play a key role in electric power and hydrogen for industry, with thoughtful application of CCS. The existing fleet of nuclear plants are an irreplaceable resource for carbon-free electricity. Along with hydro they simply make it easier to meet our other goals, which ultimately are driven by capital costs. Where will the Nation get the capital to build the power fleet we want? Many of our choices will take advantage of existing power infrastructure. While we are hopeful for advanced nuclear technology, it does not yet appear to have a cost structure that will enable it to penetrate the U.S. market. In particular, the two challenges of high capital costs of contruction and robust and swift licensing require more focused work to overcome these challenges. Utilization will play the same role in the future that recycling does today in reducing waste. Once the technologies are available, industries will choose to treat CO<INF>2</INF> as a feedstock. Cheap renewable power will make this possible, and the ability to make products onsite in small inexpensive reactors instead of at massive refineries half the world away will open new possibilities for business to be efficient and flexible. An immediate benefit of utilization technologies is as an energy storage mechanism. Both methane and transportation fuels can be made at any time and stored for almost nothing. With appropriate S&T to make those transformations affordable, this can be an excellent way to store our bounty of renewable energy, without the large capital investment required for battery storage.

Download Files