July 12, 2017

Whitehouse Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Capture & Productively Use Carbon Pollution

RI algae businesses could benefit from tax credits under Whitehouse bill

Washington, D.C. – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today introduced the Furthering carbon capture, Utilization, Technology, Underground storage, and Reduced Emissions (FUTURE) Act to spur investment in next-generation carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies.  The bill would provide tax credits for the capture and sequestration of carbon emissions from electricity generation facilities and industrial sources, for direct air capture technologies, and for carbon utilization—the conversion of carbon dioxide into useable products and fuels.  As the United States continues to reduce the carbon pollution driving climate change and to increase clean energy production, this bill would spur creative new technologies to reduce emissions across the power and industrial sectors.  Joining Whitehouse in introducing the bill were Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), and 21 other Senators.

“Everyone agrees carbon pollution is bad, but under the current rules new technologies to reduce carbon can’t gain a foothold in the market,” said Whitehouse.  “This bipartisan bill will help level the field for new technologies, allowing facilities that prevent emissions to compete with older, dirtier plants.  In the process, we’ll clear a path for promising businesses in Rhode Island and around the country that turn carbon pollution into useful products.  That’s a win-win.”

Prior carbon capture bills introduced in Congress have focused primarily on fossil fuel sources, such as coal electricity generation.  Whitehouse’s legislation is the first to provide credits for direct air capture technologies and carbon utilization, which expands our ability to reduce emissions outside of the power sector.  Utilization of carbon dioxide through processes like photosynthesis or chemical conversion also holds the promise of creating products of value that can be sold in the market, like fish food and animal feed.  Whitehouse worked closely with carbon capture and utilization companies to incorporate their input into the bill. 

“We know that converting waste streams into products with value is a smart business model.  Industries have grown around turning waste frying oil into biofuels and recycled bottles into furniture.  Now, there are new opportunities to productively use excess carbon dioxide in agriculture and other industries.  Senator Whitehouse’s bill will jumpstart this growing industry and create new jobs, while reducing carbon emissions,” said Lawrence Dressler, President of Rhode Island’s Agcore Technologies, LLC, which has patented methods of eliminating carbon dioxide from waste gases that can be infused in water for the production of their high protein algae for both human and animal nutrition.

“Bipartisan support in Congress for creating a value for carbon utilization and geological sequester of carbon dioxide emissions is a big step forward,” said Tim Burns, the founder of bioprocessH2O, a Rhode Island-based company that develops, engineers, and sells carbon utilization and advanced water treatment and reuse systems.  “This legislation will open up a cleaner and greener economic growth pathway that will spark additional private investments required for emerging and innovative technologies to capture the lost value of carbon dioxide.  In essence, Congress is valuing carbon dioxide – not taxing it – which creates a private sector incentive to accelerate large scale deployment of low carbon technologies that will be developed and manufactured in the United States.”

The FUTURE Act would make tax credits available to companies based on the amount of carbon dioxide they avoid emitting into the atmosphere through carbon capture or remove from the atmosphere through utilization.  Credits would be worth $35 per ton of carbon captured that use CCUS technology and utilization and $50 per ton captured using permanent geologic carbon storage—a technique that would permanently store carbon dioxide in subterranean rock formations.  To qualify for credits, CCUS facilities would have to capture minimum quantities of carbon in a given year based on the type of facility.  Credits would be available for 12 years.  The FUTURE Act has broad support from environmental organizations, labor organizations, industry, and utilities. 

“This proposal is smart tax policy,” said Matt Carr, executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization. “By supporting investments in algae and other innovative approaches to capturing and reusing greenhouse gases, the CCUS Act will spur innovation and job creation by transforming carbon from an environmental threat into an economic opportunity.  We thank Senators Whitehouse, Heitkamp, Barrasso, and Capito and the bipartisan group of Senators supporting this important legislation.”


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