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Heirloom Is Moving a Giant DAC Project to Shreveport

We have questions.

Project Cypress.
Heatmap Illustration/Project Cypress

Northwest Louisiana is about to be awash in direct air capture. Heirloom announced today that it’s moving its half of the Department of Energy-funded Project Cypress DAC hub from coastal Calcasieu Parish inland to Shreveport — and that it will be building a second facility, capable of removing 17,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, on the same site. Once the two facilities reach full scale, they will have the capacity to suck up a combined 317,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

Project Cypress, one of two regional DAC hubs that’s been announced thus far, is a partnership between Bay Area-based Heirloom, the Swiss DAC company Climeworks, and project developer Battelle. As per the initial plan, Climeworks will still build out its portion of Project Cypress in southwest Louisiana, and together with Heirloom’s Shreveport plant, the two facilities will pull a combined megaton of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year.

Those are the basic facts, but still, I had a lot of questions. Why make the move at all? What does it mean for Project Cypress, for the Calcasieu community, and for Climeworks? Here’s what Heirloom told me.

Why Shreveport?

Heirloom was already in the planning phase for its 17,000 ton facility in Shreveport prior to its selection for the DAC hubs program, a spokesperson told me. Thus, “it became clear that co-locating our portion of the Project Cypress Hub in the same location made a lot of sense from a cost and operational efficiency perspective.”

Will this make Project Cypress more expensive?

At this early stage it’s hard to say. But Heirloom and Climeworks will now need to develop their own distinct CO2 transport and storage systems, infrastructure that could have been shared were the two facilities close together.

Heirloom, for its part, expects its new 17,000 ton facility to be operational by 2026, while its larger Project Cypress plant is planned to come online in 2027. Initially, this larger facility will remove 100,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, eventually ramping up to 300,000 metric tons. For both projects, Heirloom is partnering with the carbon management company CapturePoint to permanently sequester CO2 in underground wells.

But storing carbon is not the only logistical challenge involved. The companies will now need to undertake separate community planning and engagement processes, a daunting task even when they had just one to figure out. And yet, the Heirloom spokesperson told us, because planning for Project Cypress is still in its early stages, any additional impacts will be “minimal.”

Did the Department of Energy approve the change?

The DOE administers the DAC Hub program that awarded Project Cypress $50 million in March, so this is no small question. The program is “meant to spur the development of clean energy capabilities across geographical regions, not necessarily in one specific location,” the Heirloom spokesperson told me, and said “the Department of Energy has been incredibly supportive of Heirloom’s expansion into North West Louisiana.” (When we asked DOE, a representative said the agency knew of the move but didn’t provide any further details.)

All this comes on the heels of a big year for Heirloom, which uses limestone powder to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Late last year it unveiled its first commercial DAC facility, which is capable of capturing 1,000 metric tons annually. The Shreveport plants thus represent a massive scale-up.

Heirloom wouldn’t disclose its cost per metric ton of CO2 removed, but the spokesperson said it’s currently “in the high hundreds of dollars,” and that it has an eye toward getting below $100 per metric ton by 2035, the widely accepted metric for commercial viability. So far, the company said, it has “sold a substantial portion of the capacity from both facilities to voluntary buyers.” Customers include major players in the voluntary carbon removal market, including Microsoft, Stripe, Klarna, JPMorgan Chase and Meta. Louisiana is also providing Heirloom with a set of economic incentives worth around $10 million, the company said.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to include a response from the Department of Energy.

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Katie Brigham profile image

Katie Brigham

Katie is a staff writer for Heatmap covering climate tech. Based out of the Bay Area, she formerly worked as a reporter and producer for CNBC.com.

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