Technology to Achieve 'Net Zero'

EFI Report at COP28 Identifies Houston as One of Four Key US Carbon Capture Clusters

Approach would make Houston and southeast Texas a US leader in burgeoning CCUS industry

December 6, 2023 – At the COP28 UN Climate Conference today, EFI Foundation CEO Ernest J. Moniz introduced a new report, supported by carbon capture solutions leader Carbon Clean, that describes a new coordinated regional approach in the US with great potential for significant carbon emissions reductions.  

The report, “A New Industrial Backbone: Exploring U.S. Regional CCUS Hubs for Small-to-Midsize Industrial Emitters”, lays out a blueprint that calls for a “hub” approach to carbon capture. The study identifies four regional hubs in the US that have significant numbers of small to mid-size industrial facilities and the right infrastructure characteristics to accelerate carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) at scale. 

Ernest J. Moniz, who served as US Secretary of Energy (2013-2017), said: “To reach our climate goals, we must go well beyond the power sector and pursue industrial decarbonisation and carbon dioxide removal. Carbon, capture, utilisation and storage hubs are pathways to effective industrial decarbonisation of small and midsize emitters.” 

Carbon emissions from hard-to-abate sectors comprise about one quarter of total US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over the past several years, small to mid-size industrial emitters have sought to decarbonise but faced challenges due to size and cost. To date, individual standalone projects have lacked the economies of scale in carbon transport and storage, which is why a regional cluster approach to CCUS can help overcome the logistical and financial challenges of decarbonising sites on an individual or piecemeal basis.  

The Houston area has enormous potential to lead the US in carbon capture. The report has identified 311 industrial units in the region as potential targets for carbon capture, representing a combined total of 36.6 MtCO2 of capturable emissions, just under a quarter of the annual CO2 emissions of New York state. The largest share of capturable emissions comes from petroleum and natural gas systems, alone accounting for 12.2 MtCO2. Local industries are already recognising the opportunity, with two operational and 23 planned commercial CCUS projects. 

Houston was identified as an ideal candidate for a hub given the area's high concentration of carbon-emitting industries, coupled with the region's capacity for underground storage. Greater Houston has a large industrial workforce with transferable skills for CCUS projects, so a cluster approach presents an opportunity for regional government and business to leverage local experience in developing a strong local CCUS ecosystem and capture a significant share of this fast-growing industry. 

Aniruddha Sharma, Chair and CEO of Carbon Clean, said: "This report affirms the immense opportunity within the Greater Houston region to leverage point-source carbon capture technology as part of a collective effort towards industrial decarbonisation. Today, thousands of people are employed across Houston at companies that could benefit from a joint cluster approach to decarbonisation. Our scalable, modular technology is specifically designed for these hard-to-abate industries that provide a lifeline for the jobs binding communities in Houston and beyond." 

Following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022, industrial emitters in southeast Texas can leverage the law’s 45Q credit to enable effective hub development. The regional clustering of capture emissions, coupled with an incentivising regulatory environment and supportive policies, invites cost-saving coordination between facilities. Smaller emitters from hard-to-abate industries will reap the most benefits from a localised hub approach.  

These efforts are further buoyed by the emergence of breakthrough technology to create smaller scale carbon capture applications, such as Carbon Clean’s CycloneCC, which dramatically reduces the space requirements and necessary financial investment.  

Carbon Clean’s award-winning, modular CycloneCC technology eliminates the barriers to the widespread adoption of carbon capture: cost and space. CycloneCC reduces the overall cost and physical footprint of carbon capture by up to 50%. CycloneCC is modular, compact and its ‘plug and play’ design makes it cost-effective and scalable. It is prefabricated so it can be installed and operational in a matter of weeks.  


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Notes to Editors 

EFI’s screening assessment identified 10 regions of the country with sufficient concentrations of small to mid-size CO2 emitters co-located with potentially attractive underground geologic storage capacity. Further in-depth analysis of four of these regions delineated key characteristics of the emissions sources, the initial step in assessing the feasibility of CCUS hub formation. The four hubs are the Great Lakes region, Houston, Louisiana, and the Ohio River Valley. 

About Carbon Clean  

Carbon Clean is a leader in revolutionising carbon capture solutions for hard-to-abate industries including cement, steel, refineries, and energy from waste. The company’s patented technology significantly reduces the costs of carbon capture when compared to conventional solutions.  

Carbon Clean has over a decade of experience in designing, building, and operating industrial carbon capture systems and it has 49 technology references around the world. The company is an innovation leader in the CCUS market, with over 90 active patent assets across 16 patent families covering over 30 countries, and has developed a modular technology, CycloneCC, that is vital for scaling industrial carbon capture deployment to achieve global net zero targets.  

Headquartered in the UK and with offices in the US and India, the company has received funding and grant support from the British and US governments and has established partnerships with industry leaders including Chevron and CEMEX. It is also an investor in the Swedish eFuel company, Liquid Wind.   

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About the EFI Foundation  

The EFI Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to educating the public on ways to harness the power of technology and policy innovation to accelerate the clean energy transition. 

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