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New analysis outlines US national opportunities to remove carbon dioxide at the gigaton scale

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, along with scientists from more than a dozen institutions, have completed a first-of-its-kind high-resolution assessment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) in the United States. The report, “Roads to Removal: Options for Carbon Dioxide Removal in the United States,” charts a path for the United States to achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) economy by 2050.

It also includes an integrated analysis of CDR techniques and resources that are currently available, along with the costs that will be incurred on the path to net-zero.

In 2022, the United States government established a 2050 goal to reach net-zero emissions by decarbonizing the economy, removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it at the gigaton scale (at least a billion tons per year). Roads to Removal lays out a road map to this goal and answers the question: How much CO2 is it possible to remove in the United States and at what cost?

The report concludes that with today’s technologies, removing 1 billion metric tons of CO2 per year will annually cost roughly $130 billion in 2050, or about 0.5% of current GDP. This will require increasing the uptake of carbon in forests and in working agricultural lands, converting waste biomass into fuels and CO2 and using purpose-built machines to remove CO2 directly from the air.

This ensemble of lowest-cost approaches for CO2 removal would create more than 440,000 long-term jobs and can be achieved using renewable energy sources, with currently available land and below ground geologic storage.

The report provides a supply analysis built from measurements of economic feasibility and CDR technical potential with the highest-resolution data available. Unlike previous analyses, which used integrated assessment or top-down models, the methods used in Roads to Removal rely on bottom-up calculations, and use the most current estimates for resource demands, costs and impacts of potential CO2 removal approaches by county.

Roads to Removal identifies specific opportunities by location for soil and forest management, biomass conversion and direct air capture (DAC) technologies, as well as geological resources. It provides information on various CDR transportation pathways, as well as crosscutting regional and environmental justice considerations. These analyses will be useful for weighing alternatives and local benefits for specific CDR projects.

The report examines the breadth of strategies where it was possible to make reliable estimates of what it will take to apply them, from land management to the latest technological options. The cost of every step of the solution was evaluated, from collecting waste biomass, to transporting CO2, to storing CO2 deep underground. The analysis enables interested counties, states, community stakeholders and CDR practitioners to work together to decide where, when and how much of each approach fits into their local needs.

The report was jointly commissioned by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies (BETO), Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) and Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), with additional support from the ClimateWorks Foundation.

The Roads to Removal report evaluates CDR feasibility and capacity, ecological effects, populations involved, infrastructure and costs for all 3,143 counties across the United States. Significant opportunities exist in forest and cropland soil management, biomass carbon removal, direct air capture and geological storage. Unique to Roads to Removal are new energy, equity and environmental justice (EEEJ) optimization indices designed to help identify counties with the greatest opportunities for co-benefits and minimal risks.

The findings highlight opportunities for both immediate action and long-term investment.

To get all the way to net-zero, investment in CO2 removal technologies such as direct air capture with geologic storage (DACS) will eventually be necessary.

The CO2 captured will need to be durably stored below ground. Roads to Removal suggests that more than half of the land area in the nation has the potential for safe CO2 geological storage.

Collaborating institutions on Roads to Removal include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology, North Carolina State University, University of California—Berkeley, Colorado State University, Indiana University, Yale University, University of New Hampshire, Iowa State University, Michigan State University and University of Pennsylvania.



Plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for a lot less than $200 a ton which is what direct capture will cost let's not be foolish let's do things the right way.


They want to take a billion tons a year out of the air the world at present puts 30 billion tons into the air, you do the math but at $130 billion a year expenditure it's not really a bargain.

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