Given its potential importance to our environmental and economic future, BPC has convened an advisory council of industry, business, and policy leaders to explore the policy challenges and opportunities to advancing direct air capture technology – an innovative carbon removal approach that uses machines to remove carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere and store it safely underground or put it to commercial uses.
There is a growing global appetite for clean energy technologies and commercial products with reduced emissions, which present market opportunities where American businesses can get ahead. The U.S. needs to examine how to bring these to reality in a manner that mitigates climate risks and increases our economic growth. BPC’s Direct Air Capture Advisory Council aims to do this by focusing on the promising technology that can bridge these goals to enable removal of carbon from the atmosphere while also opening U.S. market opportunities.
Evidence suggests direct air capture has nearly unlimited CO2 removal capacity and would set an upper limit for the cost of climate mitigation, but as a nascent industry, the technology cost and efficiency must be improved for it to be deployed more broadly. A 2018 National Academies assessment recommended the United States make significant federal research investment in carbon removal approaches including direct air capture, but U.S. investments in energy research have declined in recent decades and are far below the level needed to drive rapid advances in this space. This risks undermining our ability to pioneer innovative technologies that can reduce carbon pollution while making the U.S. economy more efficient and competitive in emerging clean energy technology markets.
While existing technologies like energy efficiency, renewable energy, and battery storage are critical to addressing carbon pollution, they are insufficient on their own to achieve global emission reduction goals. Other technologies capable of removing already-emitted carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere will be needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The leaders of BPC’s Direct Air Capture Advisory Council believe now is the time to explore how policies can help advance direct air capture to bolster U.S. technology leadership, make American consumers and business more competitive globally, and address hazardous carbon pollution.
Former Governor of Mississippi / BGR Group Founding Partner
“While I don’t advocate a carbon-free economy, markets and policies around the world are pushing toward a lower emission future; therefore, we should be investing in areas that put American industries on the strongest possible footing to lead in tomorrow’s advanced energy technologies. One of those opportunities is the development of direct air capture, a technology that reduces carbon emissions and could unlock enormous value in recycled carbon dioxide for applications such as enhanced oil recovery, manufacture of advanced materials or yet to be imagined uses.”
Legislative Director, United Steel Workers
“We are witnessing rapid changes in how we produce and consume energy and, as a result, are forced to confront new challenges in how to protect American workers and industries as well as environmental health. Direct air capture is an innovative technology that has the potential to mitigate carbon emissions from industries critical to our economy, many of which employ United Steelworkers members. This is a promising technology that warrants greater attention and I look forward to contributing to this group.”
Former U.S. Congressman from Florida
“I’m excited to work with the other members on the council to explore how government can play a role in facilitating the development of direct air capture technologies. In tandem with deployment of existing technologies like renewable energy, energy efficiency, and battery storage, I believe that direct air capture technology will play a critical role in allowing the United States to meet the decarbonization levels necessary to avoid the greatest risks of climate change.”
Former U.S. Senator from North Dakota
“The urgency of climate change requires deep reductions in carbon emissions. But even that will not fully address the crisis we face. We need to push aggressively on direct air capture technologies to meet the aggressive goals that are needed. I am convinced direct air capture can be a major contributor to meeting the climate change challenge.”
Former Executive Vice President, American Petroleum Institute
“Few predicted or planned for the ‘shale revolution’, yet a combination of early government research, industry innovation and risk-taking entrepreneurs led to the US being the largest producer of natural gas and oil, and greater use of natural gas has significantly reduced air emissions. There is no reason to believe a similar formula can’t make direct air capture another breakthrough, disruptive technology that helps us achieve our carbon reduction imperative.”
Executive Vice President & Executive Committee Member, Air Liquide Group Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc.
“Innovative low-carbon technologies and the development of technology like direct air capture will require the engagement and contributions of a diverse range of industries, including technology developers, operators and their key customers. I look forward to contributing my insight and perspective leading one of the foremost industrial gas companies in the Americas, to help inform the policy discussions of today that will ultimately guide the deployment of the low-carbon technologies of tomorrow.”
President, Bipartisan Policy Center
“While other investments in zero-carbon technologies are still needed, removing past carbon emissions could inject political momentum to the federal climate policy process. The BPC Direct Air Capture Advisory Council aims to explore this opportunity and develop additional policies and innovative commercial solutions to one of the great energy challenges of our era.”
CEO, AJW Inc.
“The council will define opportunities for government and industry collaboration to drive advances in direct air capture – a rapidly emerging technology. By supporting direct air capture, we can build on a long, successful history of global economic leadership in emission management technologies that make our industries and businesses more competitive in the global markets.”
President, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures
“Oxy Low Carbon Ventures is dedicated to advancing innovative low-carbon technology solutions that enhance our business and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas. Bipartisan policies and legislation, such as the 45Q incentives to help make carbon capture technology economic and widespread, will also be critical for creating an integrated carbon market with broad capture, use and storage opportunities. Investment in different technologies and collaboration between different players will allow us to widely deploy CCUS and to build a new carbon economy. This shared goal can be achieved with diverse leadership like BPC’s Direct Air Capture Advisory Council.”
Director, World Resources Institute United States
“Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage are critical to reducing carbon emissions but on their own are insufficient to limiting dangerous temperature rise. It’s imperative that we develop and deploy technologies that remove carbon from the air like direct air capture to increase our ability to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We owe it to ourselves and our children to use every tool at our disposal.”
CEO, Carbon Engineering
“With an increasing focus worldwide on the need to transition to a low-carbon economy, carbon removal technologies like Direct Air Capture (DAC) are going to be an essential tool in the climate toolkit. DAC can be deployed to help companies and nations alike meet their climate change commitments and achieve significant emissions reductions, while at the same time creating opportunities for jobs, economic growth, and investment. It is a viable tool for reducing emissions while continuing to provide affordable energy and should be an essential part of any strategy to manage climate change now and into the future.”
Former Executive Vice President, Edison Electric Institute
“I believe that grid transformation is essential to addressing and adapting to climate change, particularly increased reliance on renewable and clean energy sources and grid digitization to enhance resiliency for severe weather events. We need every tool at our disposal to tackle the climate crisis and negative emission technologies like direct air capture help mitigate risks to our critical energy infrastructure.”
Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration: A Research Agenda, National Academies