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Senator Whitehouse Steps Up for Carbon Utilization

ABO is pleased to report on the continued growth in support for carbon capture and utilization (CCU) among policymakers in Washington, DC. As ABO was busy last week submitting our own comments to the EPA in its proposed rules for power plant CO2 emissions, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was doing the same.

Sen. Whitehouse, whose district includes BioProcess Algae, co-founded by ABO’s board chair Tim Burns, made a powerful case for the economic benefits of CO2 regulation and the need for explicit recognition of CCU as a compliance option. As ABO stressed in its comments to EPA, the proposed rule for existing power plants provides states a clear signal that carbon capture and underground storage (CCS) is an available technology option for compliance. Yet the rule makes no mention of CCU, despite the economic and environmental benefits of recycling carbon into valuable products such as algae-based fuels, fertilizers and plastics. Senator Whitehouse echoed ABO’s call for inclusion of other promising CO2 mitigation technologies such as CCU:

“EPA should ensure that its final proposal captures the full technical and economic potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency to reduce emissions, and that all proven and effective measures are incorporated into its power plant standards,” Sen. Whitehouse wrote in his letter to EPA.

“EPA should also explicitly recognize the potential of emerging technologies that are not included in its determination of the best system of emission reduction (BSER) to reduce emissions, if states choose to invest in them.  In its proposal, EPA recognizes carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a potential compliance option, yet makes no mention of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies, such as algae, which could transform CO2 from a costly waste disposal issue into an economic resource that will benefit industry, the environment, and ratepayers.  EPA should send a signal that CCU and not simply CCS would be a welcome means of compliance for states.”

We agree and salute Senator Whitehouse for his continued leadership on climate change issues and on the need for greater support for carbon utilization technologies.

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