Comments to the U.S. Department of Energy on Industrial Decarbonization Priorities

Stefan Koester February 28, 2022
February 28, 2022

ITIF is pleased to submit the following comments to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy request for information regarding decarbonization priorities within the industrial sector. Advanced industry and technology strategies impact the entire economy and while providing significant climate benefits.

The United States is on the verge of adopting advanced industry and technology strategies, but it is not yet prepared to carry them out. The federal government lacks the detailed information and specialized analytical capabilities to make such strategies effective. This RFI is a useful first step in the right direction. The approaches taken to reduce and eliminate emissions will have to be multipronged, relying on industrial carbon capture and storage, electrification of low- and high- heat industrial processes, substitution with low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, and increase use of bio-based feedstocks and industrial inputs.

Only 28 years remain until mid-century, the target date for emission reduction levels established by the Paris Agreement and elsewhere. In the industrial sectors, with long-lived capital assets, 2050 is only one or two reinvestment cycles away. However, U.S. industry does not yet have all the necessary technology to decarbonize while maintaining its competitive edge in manufacturing. Only with continued federal and private investment in low-carbon RD&D will the United States be able to achieve the twin goals of supporting a robust manufacturing sector while reducing and ultimately eliminating emissions.

ITIF’s comments address RD&D opportunities and challenges in a number of key industry sectors:

  • Chemical industry decarbonization
    • Carbon capture and storage for chemical and plastics production
    • Direct use of low-carbon hydrogen and electrification of crackers
    • Bio-feedstock substitutes
    • Non-conventional chemical and plastic feedstocks
  • Iron and steel industry decarbonization
  • Food and beverage industry decarbonization
  • Crosscutting industrial decarbonization opportunities
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Comments to the U.S. Department of Energy on Industrial Decarbonization Priorities