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U.S. DOE Announces $45 Million to Transform Buildings into Carbon Storage Structures

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that its energy technologies agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will provide a federal grant of up to $45 million to the Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program for the promotion and development of technology aimed at transforming buildings into net carbon storage structures. The announcement comes as part of the DOE’s strategy to pioneer technologies to help overcome the scarce, expensive, and geographically limited carbon-storing building materials while mitigating emissions associated with their production.

The organization will also provide $4 million in funding to develop frameworks and building life cycle analysis tools associated with carbon drawdown and storage in building construction, while increasing the amount of carbon stored in buildings to make them net carbon negative.

In addition to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon in the finished product, successful HESTIA proposals are expected to reduce the environmental footprint from the production of building materials.

“Building materials and construction techniques offer huge promise as carbon sinks,” stated U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, adding that, “As it has done in so many other sectors of our economy, DOE ARPA-E is going to change the game yet again.” 

“With carbon-storing building materials often being scarce, expensive, and limited, DOE is pioneering technologies that overcome these barriers to lower or eliminate emissions associated with their production,” said the DOE in an organization statement, concluding that, “This will also increase the total amount of carbon stored in buildings to make them net carbon negative and contribute to President Biden’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.” 

Accounting for approximately 10% of The United States’ total annual emissions, material manufacturing and construction, renovation, and disposal of materials are concentrated during the beginning of a building’s lifecycle, thus driving the urgency to meet national energy and environmental goals.

Granholm reinforced The United States’ commitment to combat climate change at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in early-November, announcing the DOE’s goal of mitigating gigatons of carbon dioxide and storing it for less than $100 per ton of net CO2-equivalent.

With new focus on U.S.-Africa relations, and in partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee, the U.S.-Africa Energy Forum (USAEF) 2021 conference and exhibition will be held in Houston on 9-10 December 2021. Introducing American companies to African opportunities, promoting greater investment into selected African nations, and advancing an agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy and other sectors by U.S. organizations will provide a key opportunity to position Africa as a clean energy hub and reposition the U.S. as a primary partner of choice for African energy developers. USAEF 2021 sponsorship sales will be open until 19 November, while delegate sales will remain available up until the event.

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.