University of Illinois Receives $3.5 Million from the Department of Energy to Advance Air Capture and Storage Study at U. S. Steel’s Gary Works

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Jun 23, 2022, 9:01:00 PMJun 23
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University of Illinois Receives $3.5 Million from the Department of Energy to Advance Air Capture and Storage Study at U. S. Steel’s Gary Works

Study will explore capturing carbon dioxide from the air and storing in concrete

  • University of Illinois will lead the front-end engineering design study at U. S. Steel’s Gary Works in Gary, Indiana
  • Study will focus on the advancement of a direct air capture and utilization system and is anticipated to aid in developing sustainable approaches to carbon reduction
The United States Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE-NETL) has 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 (FEED) 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).

“We’re excited to bring together a strong team of academic and industry collaborators to accelerate effective, economical carbon capture and use,” said Dr. Kevin OBrien, the project’s principal investigator and leader of PRI’s Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

The study will launch at U. S. Steel’s Gary Works in Gary, Indiana, using a 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.

“U. S. Steel is committed to progressing our efforts described in our Climate Strategy Report to decarbonize and accelerate towards a lower carbon future, but we know that one company’s actions are not enough,” said Rich Fruehauf, Senior Vice President – Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer at U. S. Steel. “Achieving our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is going to take unprecedented innovation and collaboration.”

Once COemissions are captured from the atmosphere, the liquified gas will be transported to Ozinga ready mix concrete plants utilizing CarbonCure’s COremoval and utilization technologies, which inject the COdirectly into the concrete as it is being mixed. When injected, the COimmediately mineralizes and is locked away in the concrete, never to return to the atmosphere.

“Permanent COstorage is a crucial component of carbon removal. As the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear, the permanent storage of ‘centuries or more’ that carbon mineralization in concrete provides is a critical component of durable carbon removal,” said Robert Niven, Chair and CEO of CarbonCure Technologies. “CarbonCure is excited to contribute to this crucial research to help scale the solutions we need to ensure our climate future.”

“Ozinga’s purpose is to make a positive impact, and embracing innovation in concrete sustainability is key to ensuring a better environment for generations to come,” said Ryan Cialdella, Vice President of Innovation and Market Development at Ozinga. “We believe early collaboration is important to find the best solution for reduction of carbon emissions, and our development and testing of lower embodied CO2 mix designs has made participating in this important study a great fit.”

“We’re very excited about participating in this groundbreaking study,” said Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture Inc. “Direct air capture is particularly effective when energy costs can be reduced via the use of waste heat and the captured CO2 can be permanently stored in concrete. At scale, we think this solution will lead to the removal of massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.”

This FEED study will also provide data for Visage Energy Corp. to assess the impact on job creation, regional economic impact, and environmental justice issues.

Sargent & Lundy will provide the constructability review and costing of the DAC’s integration within the steel plant. Ecotek Group will design the infrastructure to connect the DAC system and the plant.

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.

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