Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

08/24/2023 | Press release | Archived content

California Group Exploring Viability of a Community-Centered Direct Air Capture Hub

Jens Birkholzer, Division Director for the Energy Geosciences Division of Berkeley Lab's Earth and Environmental Sciences Area (EESA), is project lead for the Lab. He and his EESA colleagues will use their decades of experience studying carbon removal technology and geologic storage to evaluate the technological requirements and potential environmental impacts of the hub. Blake Simmons and researchers from the Biosciences Area are spearheading the Lab's investigations into using biomanufacturing and other bio-based CO2 conversion routes and technologies at the proposed hub, whereas Hanna Breunig in the Energy Technologies Area will lead the CO2 Hub Development and Design Thrust Area with CALDAC industry partners to incorporate partner technologies into the hub plan in line with community-guided hub designs. For Berkeley Lab, the support for CALDAC reinforces the laboratory's commitment to local communities, climate, and energy justice.

"I am so excited about this remarkable CALDAC team which brings together a diverse range of experts with the common goal of designing a DAC hub that meets the unique needs of the Southern San Joaquin Valley communities," said Birkholzer. "This approach will ensure that any technological solutions are socially responsible and in line with community needs and values and hopefully provide a new paradigm for community-led climate and energy transitions."

CALDAC industry partners represent companies working on DAC technologies such as Capture6, Mosaic, Origen, and AirMyne, as well as CO2 utilization technologies such as Blue Planet and CarbonBuilt. EPRI, AECOM, Rondo, Clean Energy Systems, and Fresno State University will collaborate with CALDAC in supporting the integration of CALDAC industry partner technology critical to establishing a DAC hub in the region. Several organizations, such as Project 2030, Data for Progress, Carbon180, Valley Onward, PSE Healthy Energy, and Cal State University Bakersfield, will help expand community involvement to inform the environmental and social impact assessments and evaluate innovative community-driven governance and business models.

The news that CALDAC is among four California projects to receive a first round of DAC funding comes about a year after Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring the state to remove as much carbon from the air as it emits by 2045. In total, DOE will invest $3.5 billion towards the creation of four regional DAC hubs across the nation. Initial round one funding was spread across multiple projectsto support planning and engineering studies such as CALDAC.

Two proposed hubs were recently selected to begin development, one in southern Louisiana and one in southern Texas.

# # #

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratoryand its scientists have been recognized with 16 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab's facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit