Big Win for Carbon Recyclers, Startups in Compromise Stimulus

Just a few days ago, it looked like carbon recyclers and startups would get the short end of the stimulus stick — doomed to an uneven battle with coal companies and their preferred strategy for carbon capture and sequestration, which involves shoving emissions into geologic formations, and keeping them there. But today the House approved a compromise version of the stimulus bill that includes a key clause in the section on fossil energy R&D (emphasis added):

Funds under this heading include…$1,520,000,000 for a competitive solicitation for a range of industrial carbon capture and energy efficiency improvement projects, including a small allocation for innovative concepts for beneficial CO2 reuse…

Sure, “a small allocation” is wide open to interpretation. But this revision gives startups working with algae bioreactors and other technologies a much better chance of competing for at least a portion of the spending allocated for carbon capture (if the Senate and President also approve it). “For these startups,” said Elizabeth Moeller, public policy group leader for Pillsbury Winthrop in D.C. and a lobbyist for the algae-based carbon recycler Ternion Bio, “even a little bit of $100 million could go a long way.”

For policy wonks, the full conference report can be found in the Congressional Record here.

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