Joe Biden wants to make macaroni and cheese with clean energy

The Biden administration today announced the largest investment yet in cleaning up industrial greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Energy (DOE) selected 33 projects in more than twenty states to receive up to $6 billion in federal funding for clean energy technologies. It’s a diverse cohort, ranging from mac-and-cheese maker Kraft Heinz to manufacturers of chemicals, paper and building materials.

Industrial emissions are responsible for almost a quarter of global warming pollution. It is also widely considered the most difficult form of climate pollution to prevent. Alternatives to fossil fuel furnaces and industrial processes have lagged behind other clean energy technologies. The Biden administration thinks it can change that by funding these projects, hoping they will become sustainable models for broader swathes of the industry.

“The solutions we fund are replicable and scalable, meaning they will set a new gold standard for clean manufacturing in the United States and around the world,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a Friday presser. phone call.

“They are going to set a new gold standard for clean production”

Kraft Heinz is eligible for up to $170.9 million in funding under the program. It will use the money to modernize and electrify 10 facilities in nine states, including the factory in Holland, Michigan, where it produces the iconic blue packets of macaroni and cheese.

“It takes a lot of heat to dry all that macaroni, which causes a lot of emissions. And so this project is going to use clean technology, like heat pumps, electric heaters and electric boilers, to reduce those emissions by 99 percent,” Granholm said on the call with reporters.

Ice production in Vermont, Missouri and Tennessee will also be upgraded with up to $20.9 million in funding. Unilever will use the money to replace gas boilers with electric boilers and heat pumps. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Klondike, Magnum, Popsicle, Talenti and other packaged ice cream products.

Bulleit Whiskey maker Diageo Americas Supply will also replace gas-fired heat with cleaner alternatives thanks to financing of up to $75 million. It plans to use electric boilers and newfangled heat batteries powered by renewable energy generated on-site at its facilities in Kentucky and Illinois. Diageo is working with startup Rondo Energy, which developed the heat battery with funding from Bill Gates’ climate investment fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Another twelve projects aim to reduce CO2 emissions from the production of iron, steel, cement and concrete. Five aluminum and copper projects were also selected for financing. These are all materials that are essential to building the infrastructure needed to decarbonize the U.S. economy.

Electrifying buildings and machines can prevent pollution from oil, coal and gas – but only if the electricity grid is upgraded to run on clean energy. This means that many more electricity lines will have to be constructed, consisting of aluminum and copper and reinforced with steel. Concrete is now the most used substance in the world after water and itself generates 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The DOE believes that its selected projects could collectively prevent the equivalent of more than 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That would be like taking 3 million gas-powered cars off the road every year. The initiatives are also expected to reduce other types of pollution resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels, such as soot and smog-forming nitrogen oxides. According to the Biden administration, nearly 80 percent of projects are in underserved communities. And the winners must create a community benefits plan aimed at involving residents and labor groups in the planning process.

Funding for these projects includes $489 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and an additional $5.47 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act. The projects selected so far will still have to go through a negotiation process with the DOE before receiving funding. Senior government officials say the projects were selected based on assessments of their ability to reduce emissions, market viability, speed of implementation and potential community benefits ranging from new jobs to a cleaner environment.

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