Manchin bill aims to add carbon utilization to DOE R&D priorities

By Erin Voegele | May 18, 2015

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., recently introduced legislation that aims to prioritize research and development of carbon utilization technologies under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy program.

The legislation, S. 1282, was introduced on May 11 and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. To date, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., have signed on to cosponsor the measure.

A copy of the bill provided by Manchin’s office indicates the legislation would amend the list of DOE Office Fossil Energy research and development objections under Section 961(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by adding an eighth objective to improve the conversion, use, and storage of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels.

The Algae Biomass Organization has spoken out in support of the bill, noting it recognizes the growing importance of algae and other technologies that can convert captured carbon dioxide to fuels, chemicals and other products.

“By converting emissions into revenue streams, utilities and ratepayers can not only offset the cost of CO2 capture, minimizing the impact on electricity costs, but also create jobs and economic development in regions across the country,” said Matt Carr, executive director of the ABO. “This bill will help speed the development and deployment of these important technologies.”

According to Carr, algae and other carbon utilization platforms are under development or demonstration in more than 30 states. He said the legislation would help link those projects with fossil energy generators to optimize fossil carbon conversion and speed commercial deployment.