The US’s fossil fuels research office has a radical new mission: Cleaning up the mess

She is now responsible for helping to clean up the industry.

In July, the agency, which has about 600 employees and a budget of nearly $900 million, added the words “and carbon management” to its name, indicating a large part of its new mission: to help develop technology and build an industry that can prevent the release of carbon dioxide from power plants. and factories, absorbing it from the air, transporting it and storing it permanently.

The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon (FECM) continues to operate a research division focused on oil, gas, and coal production. But it is now named the Office of Resource Sustainability, and its central mission is to reduce the impacts from fossil fuel production, says Jennifer Wilcox, a decarbonization researcher, who joined the office at the start of the Biden administration. She now works as a senior deputy assistant secretary for FECM, overseeing both research and development alongside Brad Crabtree, the assistant secretary in the office.

FECM’s efforts will be fraught with a series of recent federal laws, including Inflation reduction lawWhich Significantly enhance Tax subsidies for carbon capture, removal and storage. Chips law and science, signed into law in August, authorize (But actually no suitable) $1 billion for decarbonization research and development at FECM. But more importantly, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Biden enacted in late 2021 will direct about $12 billion in carbon capture and removal, including pipelines and storage facilities.

FECM will play a major role in determining where a lot of the money goes.

Jennifer Wilcox, a distinguished researcher in the field of decarbonization, is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon.

After the Infrastructure Act was passed, the Department of Energy announced $2.5 billion investment to accelerate methods for safely storing and validating carbon dioxide in underground formations, as well as $3.5 billion to fund pilot and demonstration projects aimed at preventing nearly all carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants and industrial facilities, such as those that produce cement and pulp. Paper, iron and steel. It was also provided with a file $3.5 billion program To develop four regional hubs for direct air capture projects, an effort to develop plants that can absorb at least one million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year.

Last week, I spoke with Wilcox and Noah DeshD., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Carbon Management at FECM, on the new direction in the Department of Energy where billions of dollars will be put to work, and how they strive to address concerns about carbon sequestration and the ongoing damage from fossil fuels.

‘We need to invest today’

Wilcox and Dyche face a difficult balancing act.

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