U.S. Department of Energy Announces $45 Million to Validate Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal Techniques

ARPA-E Launches Program to Develop Marine Carbon Capture Measurement Framework

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $45 million in funding to support a new program aimed at facilitating the development of the marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) industry through scalable Measurement, Reporting and Validation (MRV) technologies. Quantifying and validating ocean carbon capture enables the identification of mCDR techniques that are the most effective and energy efficient in carbon removal, increasing their value in carbon markets. Carbon dioxide removal is a top priority for President Biden and mCDR has the potential to be a key component in achieving America’s net-zero goals.

“ARPA-E has already supported technological leaps in offshore floating wind, hydrokinetics, and macroalgae aquaculture for energy. SEA-CO2 expands our ocean portfolio to include technology essential for a negative carbon industry,” said ARPA-E Director Evelyn N. Wang. “Project teams within SEA-CO2 will focus on figuring out how to quantify the most efficient and scalable ways we can achieve carbon marine carbon dioxide removal, which is critical to energy emissions reduction.”

mCDR techniques take advantage of the ocean’s natural carbon removal processes. These take place across large surfaces or volumes of the ocean over comparatively long periods of time. The Sensing Exports of Anthropogenic Carbon Through Ocean Observation (SEA-CO2) program–managed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)—recognizes that scalable, cost-effective technologies to measure, report, and validate various mCDR approaches are a critical need in this urgently needed but still developing industry.

SEA-CO2 projects will provide the tools to create data-driven, model-based marine carbon accounting frameworks by developing:

  • Sensor technologies that can operate at greater spatial and temporal scales sufficient to understand ocean carbon fluxes arising from mCDR, quantify efficiency, and reduce or eliminate uncertainty concerns that limit carbon credit quality; and
  • Regional-scale ocean carbon transport and storage models that integrate and estimate the combined major carbon cycles likely to be impacted by one or more mCDR approaches for selected regions.

ARPA-E held a workshop on this topic last year. Learn more about SEA-CO2 at the program page.