Last November, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new goal to remove gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and durably store it for less than $100/ton of net CO2-equivalent. The “Carbon Negative Shot,” the third target within DOE’s Energy Earthshots Initiative, is the U.S. government’s first major effort in carbon dioxide removal (CDR)—a key facet of the plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Lab had already been pursuing opportunities in this space, so this Earthshot was a welcome announcement. As a next step, this June, the Lab organized a Carbon Negative Initiative Workshop, with the goal of understanding industry’s needs and better aligning the Lab’s capabilities to inform climate-critical work. The effort drew participants from all research areas, including development staff as well as researchers.
Kicking Off with Research Lightning Talks
To start, four lightning talks highlighted relevant research topics from across the Lab: biological approaches to carbon management, geological sequestration, direct air capture and storage, and enhanced mineralization.
“To guide our partnership strategy, we wanted first to better understand our current and future work and capabilities in this space,” said Bill Collins, director of the Lab’s Carbon Negative Initiative (CNI). “With this information in hand, we were better able to focus during the workshop on a development strategy that supports the Lab’s research priorities.”
The agenda for the day-long workshop included a discussion of the Lab Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program’s specific call for CNI research proposals, as well as opportunities through federal as well as state agencies. There were also presentations on the carbon negative industry landscape, including funding availability and an inventory of global CNI projects.
“The workshop helped us define and articulate our priorities and capabilities. Now we are in the process of using that content to craft a strategic development plan,” said Purabi Thakre, a business development specialist at the Energy Technologies Area who coordinated the workshop.
“It is exciting to see all the potential for the Carbon Negative Initiative at the Lab. Berkeley Lab researchers are well positioned to help define the science needed to evaluate emerging technologies and to serve as a thought partner to industry, DOE, and the State of California as we chart a new path toward negative emissions,” said Alecia Ward, lead of ETA’s Program Development Office.
For more information about the Carbon Negative Initiative, visit https://carbonnegative.lbl.gov/.