dac funding

DOE deploys more than $10M into Houston-related carbon capture projects

Four direct air capture projects with ties to Houston just received federal funding. Photo via Getty Images

Four carbon capture projects with ties to the Houston area have collectively received more than $10 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

What follows is a funding rundown for the four direct air capture (DAC) projects. DAC pulls carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere at any location, while carbon capture generally is done where the emissions happen.

This funding announcement comes on the heels of a subsidiary of Houston-based Occidental receiving about $600 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) for establishment of a DAC hub in South Texas.

Western Regional Direct Air Hub

Houston-based Chevron New Energies, the low-carbon subsidiary of energy giant Chevron USA, is collecting nearly $5 million in funding — $3 million of it from the DOE — for a potential DAC hub in the Bakersfield, California, area.

Chevron says it plans to install equipment at its cogeneration plant in Central California’s San Joaquin Valley so it can inject and permanently store carbon dioxide emissions underground. This is Chevron’s first carbon capture and storage project.

A cogeneration plant produces several forms of energy from a single fuel source.

Last year, Chevron was the lead investor in a $381 million series E funding round for Svante, a Canada-based producer of carbon capture technology.

“Several carbon capture technologies exist today, and they all have important roles to play in addressing the diverse requirements of hard-to-avoid emissions,” Claude Letourneau, president and CEO of Svante, said in a June 2023 announcement about the Central California DAC hub.

Pelican-Gulf Coast Carbon Removal project

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge has attracted nearly $4.9 million in funding — including nearly $3 million from the DOE — for the proposed Pelican-Gulf Coast Carbon Removal project in the Pelican State. Partners in the Pelican project include the University of Houston and Shell, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston.

The DAC project would remove CO2 in the atmosphere and permanently store it underground.

Red Rocks DAC Hub

Houston-based Fervo Energy is earmarking earmark its nearly $3.6 million in funding — including almost $2.9 million from the DOE — for development of the Red Rocks DAC Hub in southwest Utah.

Fervo believes more than 10 gigawatts of geothermal resources are available in southwest Utah that would translate into the potential storage of up to 100 million tons of CO2 each year.

“Scaling DAC technology will require abundant clean, firm power and heat to build truly carbon-negative projects,” Fervo says in a LinkedIn post. “As the leader in next-generation geothermal, Fervo is well positioned to support and accelerate the commercial deployment of DAC, while placing Utah at the heart of the energy transition.”

Houston Area DAC Hub

GE Research, the Niskayuna, New York-based R&D arm of General Electric, has scooped up more than $3.3 million in funding — including over $2.5 million from the DOE — to explore creating a DAC hub in the Houston area that would involve clean energy, such as renewable or nuclear power.

The project, being developed in conjunction with Omaha, Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska, would be designed to remove 1 million metric tons of CO2 from the air and permanently store it or use it in a value-add project (or both). Tenaska opened an office in Houston in 2019.

“We know that to truly bring an economical, commercial-scale solution in DAC to the market, it will require a collaborative effort with government, industry, and academic partners,” David Moore, leader of GE’s carbon capture team, said in March 2023. “If we do this right, we could have a commercially deployable DAC solution around the end of this decade.”

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A View From HETI

Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country. Photo via tesla.com

Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”

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