The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE-NETL) selected the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Prairie Research Institute (PRI) for an award of $3,459,554 for research and development to support a front-end engineering design study on carbon dioxide (CO2) removal technologies. The study will focus on the advancement of a direct air capture and utilization system (DACUS), which can remove 5,000 metric tons per year of CO2 from ambient air and then permanently mineralize it in concrete products. If built, the designed system would be larger than any existing direct air capture system (DAC). The study will launch at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works in Gary, Ind., using DAC technology developed by CarbonCapture Inc. The technology will use the plant’s waste heat, energy and location, so energy and transportation costs can be minimized.

In the project selection announcement, the DOE said that the advancement of DAC technology could play a critical role in conjunction with aggressive decarbonization in combatting the climate crisis and achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.