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Direct Air Capture CO2 removal system Artist's rendering of a Direct Air Capture CO2 removal system. Image courtesy U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

International Paper's Vicksburg Containerboard Mill Selected for Carbon Capture Pilot Program

Feb. 15, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) announced up to $304 million in funding for four projects to pilot transformational technologies designed to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) in Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas and Wyoming.

Nonprofit research institute RTI International was selected for award negotiations to lead the carbon capture pilot in Mississippi in collaboration with International Paper (IP), SLB and Amazon.

"We're excited to work with DOE and our partners at IP, SLB and Amazon to implement RTI's non-aqueous solvent (NAS) technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Vijay Gupta, senior research engineer and the project manager at RTI. "Our goal is to illustrate the safe, responsible and effective use of this carbon capture technology to help drive its adoption in the pulp and paper industry, and to demonstrate how strategic partnerships can accelerate industrial decarbonization."

A first-of-its-kind for the pulp and paper industry, the pilot will be at IP's Vicksburg Containerboard Mill. The project aims to capture 120,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, an amount equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of nearly 27,000 gasoline-powered cars, and direct it to a site for permanent geologic storage.

Phase 1 of this pilot project will conduct a front-end engineering design (FEED) study for a carbon capture system at IP's containerboard mill. If successful, subsequent phases would lead to permitting, construction and operation of a carbon capture plant.

The four-party collaboration includes the technology developer (RTI), the technology deployment partner (SLB), the host site (IP's Vicksburg Containerboard Mill) and the end user (Amazon). The project will provide IP and Amazon with long-term testing data on carbon capture performance and emission control, as well as a techno-economic analysis of CO2 capture through RTI's NAS technology.

"Our ability to accelerate the transition to net zero will heavily depend on how quickly we can improve the economic viability of these types of carbon capture projects across multiple industries," said Frederik Majkut, senior vice president of carbon solutions for SLB. "We're excited to collaborate with these leading companies to prove the potential of this critical technology at scale."

Pulp and Paper Industry

RTI noted that the pulp and paper industry currently produces 48 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year in the U.S., plus an additional 100 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year from related biogenic emissions.

Sophie Beckham, chief sustainability officer, International Paper, commented, "As part of our Vision 2030 goal to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, International Paper is excited to explore a first-of-its-kind carbon capture system at our Vicksburg Containerboard Mill. We believe this project has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the local community, our employees and the environment. We look forward to engaging with stakeholders throughout this project development process and to the establishment of a Community Advisory Council with membership inclusive of disadvantaged communities."

This project includes a federal cost share of up to $88 million across all phases and aims to spur private-sector follow-on investment, aid the adoption of the technology, and meet DOE's decarbonization goals for the industrial sector. The demonstrated technology can then be replicated across the pulp and paper industry. This project builds on previous DOE carbon capture research and development into RTI's NAS technology, funded through the DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Our vision is to address the world's most critical problems with science-based solutions in pursuit of a better future.

SOURCE: RTI International

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