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Conservatives have been vocal about our climate for years. Those voices won’t be ignored any longer.

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From the rapid growth of the Conservative Climate Caucus to the passage of key legislation, conservatives in the 118th Congress are leading in the areas of climate, energy, and the environment. One of the more noteworthy leaders in the past two years has been Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and chairs the Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee. Rep. Latta recently joined Right Voices to discuss conservative energy policy and his vision for the rest of the 118th Congress. 

Reliable, affordable energy is important to the entire country, and especially Rep. Latta’s district. Ohio’s 5th district is large and economically diverse and includes both the largest farm income-producing and largest manufacturing district in the state. “The one thing that I tell everyone, and this is why it’s so important [to be] on the Energy and Commerce Committee, is that I don’t have to have energy in my district, I have to have affordable energy,” said Rep Latta. He then emphasized, “If you don’t have affordable energy, all these people that are out there in manufacturing, aren’t going to have a job.”

>>>READ: Jeff Duncan Outlines Policies to Unleash American Nuclear Power

One issue that Rep. Latta prioritizes is the acceleration of the deployment of clean, baseload nuclear power in the U.S. Earlier this year his Nuclear Fuel Security Act (NFSA) was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NFSA looked to address America’s overreliance on Russian uranium and uranium enrichment by establishing programs to increase domestic production of the fuel source. Recently President Biden signed into law the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act, which was co-sponsored by Latta. The law freed up $2.7 billion to fund programs in the NFSA. 

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The support for nuclear power stems from Rep. Latta’s interest in shoring up the grid, supporting economic growth, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On the latter point, Rep. Latta has also joined the Conservative Climate Caucus to promote pragmatic solutions to address global climate change. 

On joining the caucus, Latta said, “There is climate change, you know. I think it’d be very difficult for people to go out there and say, ‘we don’t have it.’ Our climate is constantly changing. Coming from Northwest Ohio, if I took you back 60 years, what the weather looked like then and where it is today, it’s totally different.” 

However, he believes that economic growth and environmental prosperity can coexist, pointing to the United States’ remarkable success in reducing emissions between 2005 and 2020 – greater than any other nation in the world. “We’ve been able to do things in this country because of our technology and been able to get things done and still be able to compete,” he said.

>>>READ: Rep. Miller-Meeks Outlines Her Priorities for the Conservative Climate Caucus

As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Latta has also been very involved in the EV debate on Capitol Hill. While he is not anti-EV, he firmly opposes government mandates that could stifle innovation and consumer choice. “If you want to drive an internal combustion engine, good for you, if you want to drive an EV, good for you. But the one thing I’m not going to be on the side of is saying that the federal government’s going to make that choice for you,” he stated.

He continued, “If the federal government picks the winners and losers, we’re gonna lose because the federal government is terrible at it.”

By pursuing an “all of the above” energy strategy and pushing back against restrictive and burdensome regulations, Rep. Latta is promoting solutions to lower costs for consumers, accelerate innovation, and lower emissions.

This week business leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers will touch down in Dallas, Texas for the annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. The conference showcases the best and brightest talent addressing America’s energy and environmental challenges. The Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) competitively funds high-risk, high-reward projects. Since 2009 it has provided $3.76 billion in R&D funding to more than 1,500 projects which has yielded $12.1 billion in private sector funding for 230 projects.

Here are three ARPA-E-supported companies creating innovative solutions to solve some of the nation’s most pressing energy challenges. 

Antora

Antora is a Silicon Valley startup that is addressing the greenhouse gas footprint of heavy industry and manufacturing. The company has created fully modular thermal batteries that can be quickly and seamlessly deployed at industrial facilities. Antora’s batteries, which are made up of large carbon bricks, store energy that is generated by nearby renewable sources. Using the same process as a toaster, these carbon bricks heat up to temperatures of more than 2,000° C before releasing the energy back into industrial operations as either power or heat, depending on what is needed.  

>>>READ: House Science Committee Explores Ways to Improve ARPA-E

Antora claims that its batteries can store energy from renewable sources for days on end and at a scale that large operations demand. And, according to the company, these large batteries do not face the same supply chain constraints or thermal runway challenges that lithium-ion batteries experience. In 2023 Antora launched a pilot project in Fresno with the goal of delivering power to industrial customers by 2025 and will open a facility in the  Bay Area later this year. 

In 2019 ARPA-E awarded Antora $7.9 million through 2026, and the company has received backing from NextEra Energy and Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures. If successful, this ARPA-E project could improve Antora’s battery efficiency and reduce the cost of grid-scale energy storage.


Koloma

Clean hydrogen has the potential to reduce emissions in hard-to-abate sectors like chemical processing and transportation. While promising, it is expensive to produce non-emitting carbon, which is predominantly made with renewable energy through electrolysis. To circumvent this challenge, developers are going underground to tap into abundant and clean hydrogen, naturally produced by chemical reactions between minerals in the earth’s crust and water percolating down from the surface.

Koloma is one startup that is hoping to lead the underground hydrogen revolution. In 2023 the company raised over $245 million to harness this fuel carrier. Koloma’s comparative advantage is its breadth of academia and its understanding of the lay of the land; its Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Ohio State University geologist Tom Darrah, has spent years researching, locating, and recording underground pockets of hydrogen gas. 

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Last year Koloma was awarded funding from ARPA-E (amount to be determined). Breakthroughs in this area of research might reveal the feasibility of geologic hydrogen extraction. With a new research lab in Ohio and robust private sector support, Koloma is poised to lead the way in commercializing underground hydrogen. 


Deep Isolation

Nuclear power is safe, clean, and efficient. Despite this, the energy source has been stifled in several states because the U.S. does not have an effective strategy to handle spent nuclear fuel and waste. While solutions exist today and the problem is almost entirely government-imposed, innovators are putting forth new technologies and disposal methods to alleviate public concern and reduce costs associated with spent fuel management. One such company is Deep Isolation

>>>READ: U.S. Inability To Address Nuclear Waste Harms Environmental Progress

Deep Isolation buries spent nuclear fuel and waste using directional drilling to isolate these materials in underground deep boreholes in suitable rock formations. According to the company, one of its borehole disposal zones, which is less than a mile long, can store six and 10 years of waste from Boiling Water Reactors and Pressurized Water Reactors, respectively. Importantly, Deep Isolation sites its boreholes far below aquifers and at a depth “in which water has had no contact with the surface for a million years or more.”

The company has partnered with the British government to help the U.K. address its spent fuel needs. Earlier this year Deep Isolation delivered its first full-size prototype canister. Next it will subject the canister to field testing at the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center in Phoenix, Arizona. ARPA-E has also awarded Deep Isolation $3.6 million to further develop its borehole canisters.  


Public-private partnerships like those conducted by ARPA-E can help advance groundbreaking technologies that the private sector may not undertake. These can be pivotal to cost-effectively scaling clean energy, meeting future energy demands, and reducing global emissions. While these three companies are impressive, they represent only a small fraction of the work that the private sector and ARPA-E are doing to accelerate energy innovation. 

Christian Robles of E&E News reports on the regulatory challenges that clean hydrogen faces.

The C3 Take
  • The Biden administration has doled out $7 billion too kickstart domestic production of clean hydrogen.
  • Despite this federal support, the industry has had trouble taking off due to inefficient regulations, a lack of available infrastructure, and unclear tax guidance.
  • While support for energy R&D is important, efficient regulations are critical to advancing innovation.

“The National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory committee, recently recommended that Congress give FERC the ability to regulate interstate hydrogen pipelines in a report requested by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.”

Read the full article here.

Aaron Larson of Power reports on how PG&E is reducing wildfire risk.

The C3 Take
  • Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has partnered with Planet Labs to use satellite imagery and data analysis to identify and mitigate wildfire risks associated with vegetation near its power lines across its large service area in California.
  • PG&E employs a “risk bowtie” model that quantifies both the probability of vegetation-caused ignitions and the potential consequences based on local fuel conditions to prioritize mitigation efforts.
  • Technological advancements like hyperspectral imaging are expected to further enhance PG&E’s ability to characterize vegetation health, species composition, and other risk factors across its territory.

“‘Parsing through these different sources of variability is one of the real value-adds of artificial intelligence,’ Anderson said. ‘We’ve been working on developing finer and finer metrics of forest structure and forest health to be able to quantify some of those patterns, and then provide those metrics of forest health to PG&E’s team to help them better characterize these patterns and help them identify where these potential failure modes may occur.'”

Read the full article here.

Julian Spector of Canary Media reports on Form Energy’s plans to clean up iron and steel production.

The C3 Take
  • Form Energy, known for developing iron-air batteries for long-duration energy storage, has proposed using their electrochemical process to produce green iron that could decarbonize steelmaking.
  • Their technique involves using electricity to reduce iron oxide (rust) into pure metallic iron in an alkaline solution, avoiding the need for fossil fuels and high heat required in traditional ironmaking methods.
  • Form’s approach received $1 million in funding from ARPA-E to scale up as it aims to compete on cost with conventional blast furnace production of iron.
  • The electrochemical process can potentially integrate directly with variable renewable power generation and operate efficiently at low temperatures compared to fossil-based ironmaking.

“Form’s core product is a grid battery that uses powdered iron for the anode and runs the reduction and oxidation reactions back and forth to charge and discharge. The saying goes that if you wield a hammer, everything looks like a nail; Form’s engineers store energy by reducing iron, so they saw green iron production as another opportunity to apply their energy storage technique.”

Read the full article here.

Fatos Bytyci of Reuters reports on Kosovo’s tree seed planting efforts.

The C3 Take
  • It is estimated that Kosovo loses more than 700 hectares of forest to illegal logging and wildfires yearly.
  • Sustainability Leadership Kosova, a non-profit, is teaming up Project 02, a Croatian company that reseedes forests with drones.
  • Project 02 says that its technology is five times faster than human plantings and can more easily reach remote areas.

“The drone can plant one hectare in two hours and needs between 2,000 to 5,000 balls, depending on the type of seeds.”

Read the full article here.

Chris Barnard writes in RealClearEnergy about American energy’s environmental advantage.

The C3 Take
  • A report from the Berkeley Research Group’s Energy and Climate program found that American LNG is more than twice as clean as European and Asian coal.
  • The market-led shift from coal to natural gas has allowed the U.S. to be a global leader in emissions reductions.
  • American LNG can allow the world to reduce emissions without sacrificing energy security or reliability.
  • The Biden administration should reconsider its de facto ban on American LNG exports to meet global economic and environmental goals.

“BRG’s report builds on what we already know: American LNG provides a cleaner alternative to countries across the world, ensuring energy security while mitigating emissions. Biden’s attack on this critical energy source is a misinformed policy that must immediately be revoked.”

Read the full article here.

Jeremiah Budin of TheCoolDown reports on a technology that could turn air pollution into electricity.

The C3 Take
  • Australian scientists have created a device that collects carbon dioxide from the air and turns it into usable electricity.
  • The device has not yet been named and is not yet commercially available, but it could be used to charge smaller devices and electronics.
  • The group of researchers are now focusing on reducing costs to bring the technology to market.

“Or, dreaming even bigger, it could be integrated into an industrial carbon capture plant, which would help cool the plant and also remove harmful pollutants from the air that contribute to human health concerns such as asthma, per the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.”

Read the full article here.

Lisa Stiffler of GeekWire reports on a startup that is turning crab shells into green industrial chemicals.

The C3 Take
  • Tidal Vision was launched by a former Alaska fishing boat captain and turns discarded crab shells into a valuable industrial chemical called chitosan.
  • Tidal uses an environmentally friendly process that generates zero waste to create the chitosan.
  • The company has a production site in South Carolina and plans to open another facility in Texas next year.

“The material is something of a wonder ingredient and can be used in water purification, to preserve produce, to promote plant growth, as a flame retardant in fabrics, and in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It offers a safe alternative to toxic chemicals, metals, petroleum products and pesticides used in industry.”

Read the full article here.

With the ocean covering more than 70 percent of our globe, marine conservation is critical to environmental protection. Overfishing, rising temperatures, plastic pollution, and coral bleaching are just several of the problems that threaten marine life and the health of the oceans. Several nonprofits and startups are stepping up with creative solutions to the problems plaguing the sea. 

>>>READ: How Traditional Fisherman in India Are Cleaning the Ocean

Here are five organizations creating innovative solutions to preserve the ocean and coastal communities worldwide: 

Save the Waves 

Save the Waves Coalition is a global nonprofit focused on protecting ocean ecosystems in popular surfing areas, or ‘surf ecosystems,’ worldwide. The coalition’s goal is to protect 1,000 surf ecosystems by 2030 around the world.

Save the Waves partners with local organizations to implement either a world surfing reserve, which protects coastline and open ocean areas that offer great wave breaks, or a surf-protected area, which conserves surf ecosystems that overlap with biodiversity hotspots. Save the Waves then works with coastal communities around protected areas to carry out projects that steward the area well. Save the Waves then implements public awareness campaigns to keep these surf ecosystems protected. 

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The organization is working in Brazil’s Guarda do Embau World Surfing Reserve to protect the Rio do Madre River by conducting water quality tests, implementing a coastal monitoring strategy, and restoring native plants throughout the reserve to reduce erosion.  

Save the Waves has developed an app that allows surfers, ocean lovers, and beachgoers to report issues at local surf spots in real time. 

Olokun Minerals

Desalination provides clean drinking water to many areas of the globe but also generates brine which can harm marine life because of higher salinity levels. Olokun Minerals is helping to solve the problem by developing a technology that captures brine waste in desalination plants and extracts critical minerals from the saline solution. 

“There are eleven ions that make up 99.9% of salts in seawater including sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium,” the company writes. “These minerals are the building blocks of our existence and are sold to a variety of industries, from food, textiles, and paper to construction, automobiles, and pharmaceutical products.”

Olokun Minerals uses water instead of more commonly used chemicals to extract these minerals which speeds up and improves the efficiency of its process. 

Plastic-i

Plastic-i is revolutionizing the way to monitor ocean conditions. The company uses satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence to generate data, providing actionable environmental insights that can help serve as a guide for policymakers and stakeholders. While this application of technology allows Plastic-i to map out marine habitats like seagrass and mangroves, its most impactful use is the ability to track and map ocean plastic pollution. 

>>>READ: How one Scottish Distillery is Funding Research to Protect the Ocean

“Our first mission is to tackle marine plastic pollution,” explained Plastic-i cofounder James Doherty. “Up to 14 million tonnes of plastic pour into the ocean each year, destroying ecosystems, damaging natural capital, and inflicting suffering on coastal communities. Plastic-i is pioneering an AI-powered solution for mapping and combating marine plastic pollution. We use satellite imagery and deep learning to generate maps of floating plastic debris on a global scale.”

The startup’s technology is helping to fill a crucial knowledge gap in accurately monitoring plastic pollution. With Plastic-i’s data, policymakers and other conservation groups can more clearly understand the issue and track and clean up ocean plastics. 

Origin by Ocean

Algae are not always harmless—many types of algal blooms can be toxic to humans and marine life alike and have devastating impacts on coastal communities. Origin by Ocean is mitigating this problem by turning harmful algae into new products. 

Origin by Ocean’s biorefining process takes invasive algae and farmed seaweed and extracts bio-based chemicals from the materials. The company can then convert extracted chemicals into new materials that will be the building blocks for other products, like bio-based thickening agents, binding agents, pigments, and biocomposites. 

And, in collecting algae, Origin by Ocean empowers coastal entrepreneurs and directly employs people to harvest algae. While extraction is currently focused in the Caribbean and the Baltic Sea, this process could eventually create revenue opportunities for coastal communities around the globe. 

Reefy 

Reefy is “bridging the gap between engineering and ecology.” The company partners with marine developers to build better ocean infrastructure. Its star engineering solution is a reef-enhancing breakwater. 

A breakwater is a manmade structure permanently installed in coastal areas that helps protect the coastline from storm surges, tides, strong currents, and more. Reefy’s breakwater solution can support an artificial coral reef and increase biodiversity in a local area and is strong enough to still serve the function of a breakwater.


Technology is a powerful tool for marine conservation. Companies and coalitions across the globe are developing innovative solutions to solve the present and future challenges the ocean faces.

Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.

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