OCED Awards $6 Billion in Grants for Industrialization Decarbonization

On March 25, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) at the Department of Energy announced that it had selected thirty-three projects to receive up to $6 billion in funding through the Industrial Demonstrations Program. Matching funds provided by recipients will generate a total investment of more than $20 billion in these projects. The awards are intended to decarbonize energy-intensive industries, reduce pollution, and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

This marks the largest single allocation of federal funds for industrial decarbonization in the country’s history, according to DOE Secretary Granholm. The projects are expected to prevent more than 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to the emissions from 3 million gasoline-powered cars. Many of the projects will deploy innovative technologies with the potential for widespread adoption, creating the prospect for significant medium-term emissions reductions. The grants will advance I3’s core goals of strengthening the American manufacturing base, generating well-paying jobs, curbing emissions, and increasing air quality in affected communities.

OCED selected projects in multiple industrial sectors, including cement/concrete, iron/steel, pulp/paper, chemical/refining, and food and beverage.

This is a breakdown of the funding by sector:

SectorFunding# of Projects
Cement and concrete$1.6 billion6
Iron and steel$1.5 billion6
Chemicals and refining$1.3 billion7
Aluminum and metals$900 million5
Process Heat$145 million2
Pulp and paper$46.6 million1
Glass$45 million3
Food and beverage$21 million3

Project Characteristics

The grants will fund projects in more than 20 states throughout the country. Nine of the thirty-three grants went to projects in Gulf Coast states, including a sustainable ethylene project with participation from I3 member LanzaTech. Eight were awarded to projects in Midwestern states. Several grant recipients will undertake projects at multiple sites. The map below reflects the geographical distribution of the awards.

The dollar value of the awards ranged widely. OCED granted the maximum award of $500 million to five projects. Four projects received awards for less than $50 million. The average grant size was approximately $180 million. More than half the funding went to projects in the iron/steel and cement/concrete sectors.

The I3 Blueprint and the Industrial Demonstrations Program

The projects selected for the Industrial Demonstrations Program will advance several of the key goals of I3’s 2024 Federal Policy Blueprint.

Bolstering Technologies Within and Across Industrial Sectors

OCED awarded funding to projects across various industrial sectors. Successful deployment of new technologies in concrete, steel, and chemical refining can transform production processes within these sectors. Additionally, innovative technologies developed to reduce emissions in one sector can be applied in other sectors.

Industry shares some common challenges across sectors, such as reducing emissions associated with process heat. According to DOE, process heat accounts for nearly a third of the manufacturing sector’s total energy-related emissions. A grant of $145 million will help Skyven Technologies develop steam-generating heat pumps that will replace natural gas boilers in multiple industries. Diageo America Supply will combine heat batteries, onsite renewable energy, and electric boilers to eliminate the use of natural gas-fired heat at its beverage facilities in Kentucky and Illinois.

Demonstrating the Viability of Carbon Capture Technology for Heavy Industry

Meeting midcentury climate goals will require a significant reduction in industrial emissions. Many sectors can electrify production methods, substitute green hydrogen for fossil fuels to generate heat, and deploy new thermal storage technologies to curb emissions. In other cases, such as cement manufacturing, facilities will need to leverage additional technologies, like carbon management, to eliminate all emissions.

The National Cement Company of California project in Lebec, California, provides a model for employing multiple solutions to tackle emissions. National Cement will use a variety of innovative methods to decrease the emissions associated with manufacturing cement, including burning biomass instead of fossil fuels to generate heat and using calcined clay in place of clinker. The company will also capture and store the remaining carbon dioxide emissions that cannot be eliminated through alternative manufacturing processes.

Thousands of miles away in Mitchell, Indiana, Heidelberg Materials US will build one of the world’s most ambitious carbon capture, transport, and storage systems to capture 95 percent of the emissions generated by one of the nation’s largest cement manufacturing facilities. Heidlberg will sequester the captured carbon dioxide in a geologic formation underneath the plant. DOE funded earlier engineering studies that demonstrated the viability of deploying carbon capture technology on the site, underscoring the importance of consistent government support to develop innovative emissions reduction technologies

Market Innovation

I3’s 2024 Federal Policy Blueprint highlights the need for transformational change to industrial processes. Deployment is also critical. Industry needs ongoing government support to test new technologies to determine which approaches will be most impactful. The projects funded by OCED have the potential to radically transform manufacturing processes across multiple industries.

Although funding through OCED’s Industrial Demonstrations Program was awarded to only a few dozen manufacturers, the selectees represent a critical investment in the larger effort to reach midcentury climate goals. Continued federal investment in research and development is essential to drive market innovation and accelerate deployment of new technologies. The United States cannot achieve its midcentury climate goals if it does not significantly decrease industrial emissions, and it cannot slash industrial emissions without deploying diverse technologies with the potential for transformational change.

The announcement of the Industrial Demonstrations Project awards is a watershed moment in the effort to decarbonize the industrial sector, which has traditionally not received the support provided to the transportation and electricity sectors. I3 looks forward to working with recipients to transform and equitably decarbonize the industrial sector.

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Ankita Gangotra, Associate, WRI

Dr. Ankita Gangotra Associate, WRI United States Dr. Ankita Gangotra is an Associate in WRI’s US Climate Program, researching avenues to decarbonize the industrial sector, focusing on cement and steel decarbonization, environmental trade policies and international cooperation. Prior to joining WRI, Ankita was a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Foreign Service and the Department of Physics at Georgetown University. Her research looked at the readily available technology and policy options for upgrading low-carbon cement production in the United States. Ankita has an integrated Master's in Electronics Engineering with Nanotechnology from the University of York, UK (2015) and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Auckland, New Zealand (2020). During her time in New Zealand, Ankita interned at the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor looking into equity, diversity and inclusion policy options for New Zealand’s science, research and innovation workforce.

Carrie Dellesky, Program and Outreach Manager, Carbon Removal and Industrial Innovation

Carrie Dellesky is the Program and Outreach Manager for Carbon Removal and Industrial Innovation. She develops strategies to advance policies and practices for scaling up a suite of carbon removal approaches and decarbonizing the industrial sector. She engages allies and builds and expands partnerships to mobilize champions and enhance visibility, action and impact. She also leads communications to amplify research and thought leadership, including messaging, media relations, event planning, social media and digital strategy.

Zachary Byrum, Research Analyst, WRI United States

Zachary Byrum is a Research Analyst in WRI's U.S. Climate Program, where he provides technology and policy analysis for carbon removal and deep decarbonization. His work focuses on pathways to reduce industrial emissions as well as bolstering technological carbon removal. Prior to WRI, Zach was a research assistant in the Carbon Management Research Initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy. In the preceding years, he served as White House Intern in the National Economic Council under the Obama Administration and then an assistant analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. Zach holds a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Goucher College.

Katie Lebling, Associate

WRI United States. Katie Lebling is an Associate in WRI's Climate Program where she works on research and analysis of technological carbon removal approaches and industrial decarbonization. Before joining WRI, she worked at The Asia Group, and interned at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum and the Treasury Department’s Office of Environment and Energy. She holds a Master's degree from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Energy, Resources, and the Environment, where she spent one year of the program studying in Nanjing, China, and has a B.A. from Colby College in Biology and Chinese language.

Debbie Weyl, Deputy Director, WRI United States

Debbie Karpay Weyl is the Deputy Director for WRI U.S. She previously served as Manager for the Buildings Initiative at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. She led an expanding global partnership to accelerate building energy efficiency in cities around the world. She also contributed to program management and development, research, and knowledge exchange for urban energy efficiency and sustainability. Debbie joined WRI from CLASP, a global non-profit organization that improves the environmental and energy performance of appliances, lighting and equipment. From 2011-2016 Debbie managed and developed global programs, led research projects, and facilitated collaboration among international experts and other representatives in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining CLASP, Debbie worked at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where she was a contractor supporting building efficiency and other energy efficiency programs in the United States. Debbie holds a Master of Science in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A. in Politics (Political Economy and International Relations) from Princeton University.

Angela Anderson, Director of Industrial Innovation and Carbon Removal, WRI United States

Angela Anderson is the Director of Industrial Innovation and Carbon Removal in the Climate Program. She leads WRI's growing portfolio of work in industrial decarbonization and carbon removal and aims to change narratives around “hard-to-abate” sectors and promote the natural and technological interventions required to achieve net-zero targets. Prior to joining WRI, Angela worked as a program director, coalition builder, international advocate, and campaign strategist. She led the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists for ten years; facilitated US-NGO engagement in the international climate negotiations while at US Climate Action Network and at the Pew Environmental Trust; and founded Clear the Air, a national coalition to reduce pollution from power plants. Angela holds a B.A. in political science from Colorado State University.

Patrice Lahlum, Vice President (Interim), Carbon Management, Great Plains Institute (GPI)

Patrice Lahlum is the President/Owner of Riverwind Consulting, LLC, based in West Fargo, ND, and provides clients with a wide range of consulting services including marketing, communications and policy development and analysis. Current areas of focus are agriculture, energy, natural resources, and organizational development. Lahlum currently works as a consultant to the Great Plains Institute (GPI) on their communications, transmission and biomass programs. Named as one of the region’s “40 Under 40” business leaders by Prairie Business Magazine in 2011, Lahlum has more than 15 years of experience in agriculture and energy policy, project management, public relations, fundraising, media (conventional and social) outreach, group consensus development and facilitation. Renewable energy is a significant focus of Lahlum’s work, having led the effort to organize the first ever renewable energy summit in North Dakota. That summit led to the creation of the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy (NDARE). Lahlum served as the elected chair of NDARE from 2009-2012 and served on the board of directors from 2008-2012.

Kate Sullivan, Senior Program Coordinator – Carbon Management, Great Plains Institute (GPI), With GPI since 2019

Kate Sullivan joined the Great Plains Institute in 2019. As Senior rogram Coordinator, Kate uses her analytical and design skills to provide research, writing, and logistical support across the Carbon Management team. Prior to joining GPI, Kate worked as an Energy Counselor in the Center for Energy and Environment’s residential department, assisting homeowners with their energy needs and providing resources for efficiency upgrades. Kate earned her BA in Biology from St. Olaf College with an emphasis in Environmental Studies.

David Soll, Industrial Decarbonization Manager, Great Plains Institute (GPI), With GPI since 2023

David Soll joined the Great Plains Institute in 2023 and serves as Industrial Decarbonization Manager. He oversees the Industrial Innovation Initiative, a coalition advancing decarbonization solutions for the Midcontinent region’s most important industrial sectors. Prior to joining GPI, he taught history and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he focused on urban infrastructure and energy conservation. David earned a Master’s in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in history from Brandeis University.

Jill Syvrud, Senior Program Manager - Carbon Management, Great Plains Institute (GPI). With GPI since 2017.

Jill Syvrud joined the Great Plains Institute in 2017 and serves as the program manager for the Carbon Management Program. In addition to overseeing the overall program, Jill directly supports the Industrial Innovation Initiative, a coalition advancing decarbonization solutions for the Midcontinent region’s most important industrial sectors. Jill earned a bachelor of science in biology from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and a master of science degree in science technology and environmental policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Jill’s past experience includes multiple graduate research assistantships concentrating on technology innovation and sustainable megacities along and a previous position as an administrative and outreach coordination intern with the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.