The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced Friday the launch of the Carbon Negative Shot, the third technology highlighted in its Energy Earthshots Initiative.

The goal of the initiative is to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a gigatonne scale and bring the cost of capturing and storing carbon dioxide to less than $100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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“By slashing the costs and accelerating the deployment of carbon dioxide removal — a crucial clean energy technology — we can take massive amounts of carbon pollution directly from the air and combat the climate crisis,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Sequestering one gigatonne of carbon dioxide is equivalent to the annual emissions of about 250 million cars.

The DOE plans to help the market get to this scale by accelerating innovation, research, manufacturing and demonstration.

The department said the initiative will focus on meeting the needs of individual communities that can be affected by carbon dioxide removal by engaging with the communities themselves, environmental and climate justice organisations, tribal nations, and labour groups.

“With our Carbon Negative Shot, we can help remove the greenhouse gases already warming our planet and affecting our health—positioning America as a net-zero leader and creating good-paying jobs for a transitioning clean energy workforce,” Granholm said.

“The combination of the Carbon Negative Shot with our massive investments in hydrogen, battery storage, renewables and decarbonized fossil energy, can make net-zero emissions a reality here and abroad,” Granholm said.

The department previously launched the Sunshot initiative to decrease the cost of solar power, and more recently the Hydrogen Shot initiative, which aims to decrease the cost of clean hydrogen production.