The Biden administration unveiled on Wednesday a series of initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector, including the announcement of a $6 billion Industrial Demonstrations Program to accelerate decarbonization projects targeting hard-to-abate sectors.

The advancement of industrial decarbonization has been a key focus area for the Biden administration’s climate agenda, with the industrial sector accounting for nearly a third of the U.S.’ emissions. The administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) include allocations of nearly $500 billion to climate-focused investments in areas including carbon-free energy, manufacturing and clean technologies. For the federal government’s own projects, the administration last year launched a “Buy Clean Task Force,” aimed at promoting clean procurement, targeting the use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions and pollutants across their lifecycle.

In a White House statement announcing the new initiatives, the administration said:

“The industrial sector is critical to ensuring that America leads in building a clean energy economy and tackling the climate crisis. We can harness cleaner steel, aluminum, and concrete to build electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar farms, and sustainable transportation infrastructure with an even smaller environmental footprint…Today’s actions underscore the Administration’s comprehensive approach to building a clean industrial sector, from spurring investments to lower emissions in the supply of materials, to new procurement commitments that send demand signals in the marketplace for clean products.”

The new $6 billion funding program, announced through the Department of Energy (DOE), will provide up to 50% of the cost of first-of-a-kind or early-stage decarbonization projects, in order to bring them to scale this decade. The DOE said that it will prioritize projects that accelerate industry towards deep decarbonization, spur follow-on investments for widespread adoption of the demonstrated technologies, enable new markets for cleaner products, and benefit local communities.

The projects are expected to target the highest emitting industries – such as iron and steel, aluminum, cement and concrete – with cross cutting technologies with the greatest potential to achieve significant decarbonization domestically and globally.

The funding for the demonstration program includes over $5.4 billion from the IRA and $430 million from the BIL.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said:

“Today’s announcement is yet another exciting step in the race to fully decarbonize our heavy industries, and will help drastically reduce harmful pollution while ensuring America’s manufacturing sector is strong and competitive.”

The administration also announced the launch of the Federal-State Buy Clean Partnership, kicking off with participation from 12 states, with commitments to prioritize procurement of lower-carbon infrastructure materials in state-funded projects, and to send a harmonized demand signal for clean materials, together with the federal government.

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