US Department of Energy Grants $8.84 Million to Calgren Renewable Fuels Project for Carbon Capture and Storage

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced several grants for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects. One of the largest awards – $8.84 million – was to Calgren Renewable Fuels’ project in Tulare County, which produces both dairy biogas and ethanol. The awards will help to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of CCS. As US DOE describes it, the project will “establish the technical and economic foundation to establish a geologically, environmentally, and societally feasible commercial-scale, locally acceptable regional geologic storage complex for carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from Calgren Renewable Fuels’ ethanol production and dairy digester plant in Pixley, California, as well as other dairy farms and industrial facilities in the area.”

CCS is an important tool to address climate change because it can reduce emissions from bioenergy and other manufacturing and industrial processes. Bioenergy with CCS, also known as BECCS, is also one of the biggest opportunities to create carbon negative emissions that are essential to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century. According to Lawrence Livermore National Lab, a US DOE research lab based in California, BECCS can provide two-thirds of all the carbon negative emissions that California will need to reach its carbon neutrality goal by 2045. The California Air Resources Board in the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan has also determined that California will need BECCS to reach its climate goals. So, the Calgren Renewable Fuels demonstration project is a critical step for California to achieve carbon neutrality.

BAC Comments on the Draft 2022 Climate Scoping Plan

BAC submitted comments on the Draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan focused on several important issues:

  1. BAC supports Alternate 3 as the Proposed Scenario, with some modifications, as
    it will provide the greatest benefits with the fewest downsides.
  2. The Proposed Scenario correctly includes bioenergy and renewable hydrogen,
    but should include specific recommendations to accelerate their use.
  3. The Proposed Scenario also correctly includes CCSU as an essential strategy to
    reduce emissions quickly and to reach carbon neutrality.
  4. The Scoping Plan should focus much more on SLCP reductions and other
    measures that benefit the climate in the near term.
  5. Analysis and recommendations should be based on lifecycle emissions rather
    than broad generalizations about different technologies, fuels, and strategies.
  6. The Scoping Plan should focus transportation and vehicle strategies on
    opportunities to reduce climate and air pollution in the near term.
  7. The Scoping Plan should provide a full and accurate assessment of technically
    available forest and agricultural waste biomass.