The U.S. Department of Energy said on Thursday it will invest $11.3 million from the FY2009 Budget directly in pre-combustion carbon capture and sequestration technologies in a move to boost clean tech as the country seeks to reduce emissions and ease the impact on climate change.

Pre-combustion carbon capture technologies convert fuel into a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The CO2 is separated before the combustion and the hydrogen can be burned without producing any CO2 in the exhaust gas. This method can reduce CO2 emissions in future coal-based integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants, the Department said.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department already selected nine projects to develop these technologies consisting of high-temperature, high-pressure membranes; high-efficiency solvents; and solid sorbents, which are materials used to absorb liquids or gases.

We also need to develop transformative new solutions, Chu said in a statement Thursday. As a scientist, I remain optimistic that these breakthroughs are within our reach, and investments like these are an important part of achieving them.'

The firms obtaining the largest funding are TDA Research with $2 million, SRI International and URS Group each with $1.9 million, and Pall Corporation which will receive $1.2 million. The University of Minnesota, Arizona State University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology were also granted funds.

Also today, the department selected 24 new solar projects eligible for up to $22 million from the stimulus package funds and said it will invest $240 million for the development of high efficiency commercial and passenger vehicles.