Under pressure for a response to the climate change “do something” chorus, Republican legislators have introduced a bill that would direct the government’s energy research labs to look into technology that removes carbon dioxide from the air.
Of the many solutions offered to head off a predicted global climate catastrophe, this is one of the few not aimed at choking off fossil fuel usage.
In the meantime, interest continues to grow in direct air capture technology pioneered by a Canadian company that pulls CO2 from air at groundlevel and injects into oil formations for enhanced recovery. With financial support from a division of Occidental Petroleum, the carbon capture technology will be evaluated in a pilot project currently under development in the Permian Basin.
To provide a boost to carbon capture and sequestration technologies, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in May introduced S. 1675, called Launching Energy Advancement and Development. The bill would fund research and development of “commercially viable technologies for the capture of carbon dioxide produced during the generation of natural gas-generated power.”
“The US leads the world in emissions reduction, but to build on that success, we need to incentivize innovation and partner with the private sector to create affordable solutions,” Cornyn said in a published report. The bill would “encourage the continued domestic use of natural gas to protect the environment and remain a global leader in energy innovation.”
A similar bill sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in February would direct funding into research for CO2 capture and development of commercially viable uses for the gas.
After announcing in January it was co-sponsoring with Chevron research into direct CO2 capture technology, Occidental doubled down in May with a plan to jointly build a pilot facility in the Permian capable of capturing 500 kilotons of atmospheric CO2 per year.
Developed by Carbon Engineering, of British Columbia, the technology would enable low-cost EOR in mature oilfields operated by Oxy, according to a company release.
If the project continues past approvals, construction would begin in 2021 and operations commence two years later.