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US gov puts $39m into tech that turns buildings into carbon sinks

by Sion Geschwindt
US gov invests $39m for tech that turns buildings into carbon sinks

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $39m (£32.5m) for 18 projects seeking to develop technologies that can transform buildings into net carbon storage structures.

Led by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), selectees for the Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) programme will prioritise overcoming barriers associated with carbon-storing buildings, including scarce, expensive, and geographically limited building materials.

Decarbonisation goals for the HESTIA programme mirror President Biden’s plan to reach zero emissions by 2050 and aim to increase the total amount of carbon stored in buildings to create carbon sinks, which absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than released during the construction process.   

US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, said: “There’s huge, untapped potential in reimagining building materials and construction techniques as carbon sinks that support a cleaner atmosphere and advance President Biden’s national climate goals.

“This is a unique opportunity for researchers to advance clean energy materials to tackle one of the hardest to decarbonise sectors that is responsible for roughly 10% of total annual emissions in the United States.” 

Some of the innovations selected include a bio-based insulation that combines cellulose with mycelium, a transformational ‘self-healing’ wood as strong as steel, and a composite panel made from bio-derived natural fibres.

Image credit: Pixachi/Shutterstock

Read next: Intelligent City raises $17m to automate mass timber construction

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