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Department of Energy awards $6B for green industry buildout

Illustration of a hand with scissor cutting emissions from a smoke stack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Green steel mills, cement production plants, and America's first new aluminum smelter in 45 years were among the projects selected Monday to receive up to $6 billion in federal funding for lower-carbon industrial projects.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is aiming to spark the biggest industrial buildout in decades.

The big picture: The Energy Department named 33 projects in more than 20 states that would receive awards aimed at re-shoring U.S. manufacturing while reducing industrial carbon emissions.

  • The funds would flow from 2021's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and 2022's Inflation Reduction Act.

Between the lines: Producing metal, plastic, cement, and other industrial products relies on huge amounts of heat and energy.

  • Eliminating emissions from these hard-to-decarbonize sectors is vital to President Biden's goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

Legacy companies were among the biggest awardees, including Chicago-based Century Aluminum, steelmakers Cleveland-Cliffs and SSAB, and construction materials producer Heidelberg Materials.

  • Startups such as decarbonized cement developer Brimstone and green steam developer Skyven Technologies were also selected.
  • Close to 80% of the projects are in disadvantaged communities, the Energy Department said.

What's next: The awards are initial decisions subject to more grant negotiations, as colleague Ben Geman notes in Generate.

  • If funded, a project faces "go/no-go" decision points at various phases, when the agency weighs progress and community benefits.
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