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Flurry of Federal, State Efforts to Kickstart U.S. Carbon Capture — Canada Next?

Get ready for the carbon capture boom. Government funding for carbon capture and storage projects has ballooned in the last three months — and not just through the economic stimulus package, which increased federal support by 70 percent to $8 billion for demonstrations and deployment, according to a new report from Emerging Energy Research. The industry also has growing support at the state level, with new initiatives on the books in Illinois and Texas, and carbon capture legislation proposed in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Kansas.

Yet another boost could come later this afternoon, when President Barack Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper are expected to unveil an “environmental deal,” likely related to carbon capture and storage technology, according to Canada’s CBC News. A White House official told the New York Times that the two countries will commit to sharing information about energy and technology, and will work more closely on research.

While President Obama’s talks with senior officials today in Ottawa are expected to center on economic issues — in particular, how to stabilize the financial sector and coordinate auto-industry bailouts — energy, climate change and clean technology will also come into play. CBC News noted last night:

When the president was asked about climate change during an exclusive interview with CBC News this week, he steered the conversation toward green technology and specifically referred to carbon capture. He described it as a way to reduce emissions without crippling the economy.

“[If] Canada and the United States can collaborate on ways that we can sequester carbon capture greenhouse gases before they’re emitted into the atmosphere, that’s going to be good for everybody,” Obama said.

Not least of all for companies developing carbon capture and storage technology, a sector where investment could top $70 billion by 2030. According to EER, the six global supermajors — BP (s BP), Chevron (s CVX), ConocoPhillips (s COP), ExxonMobil (s XOM), Shell (s RDS-B) and Total (s TOT) — may stand to gain the most from that investment. But other, smaller players, such as the stealthy Sequoia-backed startup C12 Energy, are also looking to squirm into the market.

If Canada comes on board with anything like the provision for CO2 reuse added at the 11th hour to the U.S. economic stimulus bill, then carbon recyclers working with algae-based and other bioreactors could also find a new world of opportunities.