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US announces $6 billion in grants to decarbonize heavy industry

Mar 08, 2023
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm holds press briefing at the White House in Washington

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Biden administration said on Wednesday it is directing $6 billion in funding to speed decarbonization projects in energy-hungry industries like steel, aluminum and cement making that contribute nearly 25% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The Industrial Demonstrations Program will provide competitive grants to technology developers, industry, universities and others for up to 50% of the cost of projects that aim to cut emissions from industry that also includes production of chemicals, ceramics and paper, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.

The program is part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the program will help cut pollution while ensuring the competitiveness of American manufacturing.

“It’s not super-defined,” Granholm said at the CERAWeek conference in Houston about the program which aims to fund projects at existing and new facilities alike.

The decarbonization technologies should be something “we can learn from and then have that technology be replicated and taken to scale,” Granholm said.

The funding comes from the infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed in 2021, and the Inflation Reduction Act, he signed last year.

Environmental groups praised the program and urged DOE to allocate at least 40% of the resources to facilities near communities that face environmental and social impacts from heavy industry.

“This new funding is an unmissable opportunity to modernize American primary steel manufacturing, reduce climate and health harming pollution and create jobs,” said Hilary Lewis, steel director at Industrious Labs, a nonprofit working on the energy transition. “Without investment today, the industry risks falling behind in the race to green steel.”

Concept papers expressing interest in the grants are due April 21, with full applications due on Aug. 4, DOE said.

(Reporting by Timothy GardnerEditing by Marguerita Choy)