Carbon Capture Coalition Virtual Media Briefing on Projects, Industrial Emissions and Corporate Engagement

March 11, 2022 | Blog

“There’s more than eighty projects – close to ninety projects – that have been announced across the United States ever since the reform of the 45Q tax credit in 2018,” remarked Lee Beck, the International Carbon Capture Director of the Clean Air Task Force,  at the Carbon Capture Coalition’s February media briefing that highlighted the number and diversity of announced carbon management projects – spanning from capture, removal, utilization as well as transport and storage – in reaction to the 45Q tax credit. Beck further noted the moment of unprecedented growth currently being experienced by the carbon management industry, highlighting that “seventy percent of the projects that have been announced are actually in the industrial sector,” which includes steel, cement, basic chemicals, as well as ammonia, natural gas processing, and ethanol. 

Alongside Beck, the panel included four other members of the Carbon Capture Coalition who reflect the diversity of sectors that make up the membership of the Carbon Capture Coalition, a unique partnership between industry, conservation and environmental non-profits and unions. In addition, Coalition staff provided a review of significant federal policy supporting industrial decarbonization and reiterated areas of need for swift and comprehensive policy enactment to enable deployment of carbon management technologies in the industrial sector.

The industrial sector is responsible for nearly a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Just over half of these emissions come from three sectors — steel, cement and basic chemicals. Additionally, the industrial sector presents unique decarbonization challenges including reliance on fossil fuels for high-temperature heat, as well as the direct emission of carbon dioxide through the physical or chemical conversion of materials. These process emissions account for more than 50 percent of emissions in certain sectors. Deployment of carbon management technologies are not optional in the industrial sector if we are to meet climate and net zero goals by midcentury.

Jessie Stolark, the Public Policy & Member Relations Manager for the Carbon Capture Coalition, set the tone for the briefing in her opening remarks noting that deployment of these technologies is critical not only to meeting midcentury climate goals but also preserving and expanding the high wage jobs base provided by these sectors. Stolark also touched briefly on needed key enhancements to 45Q in pending climate and energy legislation, as well as the historic funding for carbon capture, removal, transport, utilization and storage in the recently enacted bipartisan infrastructure law. 

This blog post provides highlights from Coalition members’ remarks and discussion along with the full event recording below. 

Carbon Capture Coalition Virtual Media Briefing – February 22, 2022

Lee Beck 

International Carbon Capture Director, Clean Air Task Force

In her opening statement, Beck highlighted the broad range of industrial projects that have been announced in the past year and underscored the need for additional enhancements to the 45Q tax credit to ensure that project development can move forward in timeframes consistent with meeting net zero targets by midcentury.  

She remarked, “From our perspective, we are really looking at carbon management technologies as part of a system of decarbonization options and decarbonization portfolios from an energy systems perspective… It’s really a key option that we need to be commercialized as soon as possible to have multiple options or technologies available to decarbonize. And to enable communities and regions to really choose technology pathways to net zero that are suitable to their individual social, political, economic and resource circumstances. So, from [Clean Air Task Force’s] perspective, carbon management technologies are really important to future proof and decarbonize current industries such as cement and steel.” 

Virgilio Barrera 

Director, Government and Public Affairs, LafargeHolcim  

Barrera shared some crucial highlights of projects in LafargeHolcim’s portfolio and the central role that carbon management will play in meeting the companies’ net zero goals. He said, “LafargeHolcim, a number of years ago, became the first building materials manufacturer to take a net zero pledge. We worked with the science-based target initiatives to develop our net zero roadmap to set intermittent targets, publish them and really to work with our partners to hold us accountable, and I am pleased to report today that we are well on our way to reaching our net zero targets; and a crucial component of that is carbon capture. As I pointed out, we are doing changes in our manufacturing sites to change the way we manufacture cement, you know kind of tweaking the recipe. We’re changing; we’re integrating renewables; we’re increasing our use of alternative fuels but yet, we’re still generating a significant amount of process emissions and the key for us to reach net zero is really getting carbon capture utilization storage projects online.” 

He concluded his remarks by explaining the importance of continued engagement on carbon management policies to ensure industries can continue to innovate while meeting emissions reductions goals and noted that the enhancements to 45Q in budget reconciliation are crucial and build on the funding enabled by the recently enacted infrastructure law.  

Colin Graves

Vice President – Innovation, ADM

Graves shared some highlights of ADM projects and the experience they’ve gained from being the first carbon storage project to utilize a Class VI well, the permit required for dedicated storage of CO2 in geologic formations. He commented, “Ten years ago, we started permanently sequestering carbon one and a half miles below Decatur, Illinois, where we hold the only two class six wells in the United States. Today, we [have] sequestered over a half million tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of removing about seven hundred and fifty thousand cars from the road for a full year. Earlier this year, we were proud to achieve net carbon neutral status for our U.S flour milling operation. This is a wonderful accomplishment with it being an industry first of its kind and its scale. We achieved this through implementing energy efficiencies at the plant, sourcing green energy products and through our carbon capture and storage capabilities. With the success of that project, we’ve announced plans to utilize carbon capture, storage and other advanced technologies to decarbonize more of our large manufacturing processes and lower the carbon intensity of many of the products we make.” 

He concluded by underscoring the effectiveness of carbon storage, the huge CO2 storage capacity available across America and the need for continued policy support to sure industries can continue to innovate while meeting emissions reductions goals. “This is an excellent example of the potential of this technology and the cascading effects it can have for many different industries and products. The key to the industry’s development however is the 45Q tax credit. It’s been instrumental in providing a stable long-term incentive for [carbon] sequestration and it’s important that it further extended and expanded to allow for deployment and scale across industries,” he noted.  

Jason Albritton

Director of Climate and Energy Policy, The Nature Conservancy

In Jason’s remarks, he made the environmental case for carbon management in the context of industrial emissions and underscored the importance of continued policy engagement on carbon management to ensure we have the full range of technologies available to meet mid-century climate targets saying, “In its 2020 analysis of scenarios for limiting warming to two degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that carbon capture could play a significant role in reducing emissions from industries where no other cost-effective way to decarbonize exists. IEA projected in that modeling that carbon capture, utilization and storage  will achieve fifteen percent of cumulative emission reductions needed to reach net zero by 2070 and even more if to reach a 2050 goal.” 

Concluding his remarks, he noted the importance of prioritizing environmental justice considerations in the transition toward net zero economy saying, “We have to really listen to local communities and ensure that their concerns are being heard as we move to this transition; this definitely includes overburdened communities that have historically experienced the greatest impacts of air pollution and will be on the front lines of climate change.” 

Zoe Lipman

Deputy Director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council

Lipman’s remarks focused on the economic case for carbon management, highlighting the jobs and economic development potential of deploying these technologies nationwide. “Carbon management, and reducing carbon emissions from industrial facilities in particular, will be central to meeting our climate goals, but it will also be central to ensuring that we strengthen and grow a domestic industrial sector that is the cleanest and most competitive in the world while securing and creating the next generation of high-quality jobs,” she explained. 

Calling on Congress and the Administration to support policies that will help deploy these vital technologies, Lipman stated, “U.S. heavy industry has some of the cleanest and best labor standards in the world. But, as it stands now, we’re still seeing some of the most cutting-edge technologies, particularly industrial process innovation, being implemented overseas in some cases, with technology invented here and as a direct result of policy support in those countries designed to speed implementation. That’s why as we look at the policies that are under debate now, we are very encouraged and gratified to see that not only is Congress proposing to make investments in modernizing heavy industry at a globally competitive scale, but they are coupling those policies with labor and domestic content standards that are necessary to ensure that we’re sustaining and growing good jobs here and enhancing local benefits as we transform these critical industries.”