Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced yesterday that the Department of Energy (DOE) will make $8 billion available for loan guarantees for advanced fossil energy projects. As referenced in President Obama’s climate speech last week, this backing of technology innovation in the use of fossil fuels is one part of the Administration’s approach to making all forms of energy we use cleaner and more efficient.
- “Advanced resource development.” The aim is to support technologies that “avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gases from the development, recovery, and production of traditional and non-traditional fossil energy resources.” This could include methods for reducing methane leakage from the hydraulic fracturing technique that has boosted domestic supplies of natural gas.
- “Carbon Capture.” Projects in this area could “integrate fossil fuel usage with new or improved technology that captures and removes CO2 for permanent storage in underground formations or through beneficial reuse.”
- “Low-Carbon Power Systems.” These projects would “utilize fossil fuels for electricity generation using novel processes or improved technologies that can seamlessly integrate with CO2 storage or beneficial reuse.” Examples of such systems include oxycombustion, chemical looping processes, hydrogen turbines, and fuel cells.
- “Efficiency Improvements.” This area will support technologies that “increase efficiencies and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel supply and use.” These could include combined heat and power systems and “high-efficiency distributed fossil power systems.”
Much of the news from the President’s speech focused on new energy efficiency standards, more deployment of renewable energy technologies on public lands, and new performance standards for power plants. But projects supported by the advanced fossil energy program will also move us toward an advanced energy future of secure, clean, affordable energy.
“Fossil fuels currently provide more than 80 percent of our energy, and adopting technologies to use them cleanly and more efficiently is critical to our all-of-the-above approach,” said Secretary Moniz.
Image credit: Kjetil Alsvik / Statoil. The Sleipner CO2 carbon capture and sequestration unit in the North Sea. According to MIT, it was the world's first commercial CO2 storage project. More information here.