The technology aims to tackle global warming by “sucking” carbon dioxide out of the air. The prime minister’s chief adviser supports the production of a little known technology that can absorb carbon in the atmosphere and accumulate it underground.
However, the move has drawn uncertainty in Whitehall.
Civil servants have also been asked to draw up plans to help the industry by purchasing the CO2 that is captured.
The efforts are part of the UK’s scheme to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Sources said Mr Cummings has promoted the project as he championed how it could help tackle climate change.
He has got the backing Tim Leunig, the chancellor’s economic adviser, who is also supporting the development.
Both men believe that with early funding Britain could become a global leader in the technology, which is only being researched by two companies.
But some in Whitehall have raised concerns that it could divert attention from simpler and tested technologies to reduce emissions.
One such project would be the government’s promise to invest £9 billion on insulating homes.
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One estimated that to absorb enough carbon to “offset” the emissions from the aviation industry alone it the Government would need to create additional electricity comparable to building up five new nuclear power stations.
At least two firms have now developed functioning direct air trapping plants but it currently costs nearly £500 to extract a single tonne of CO2.
Those leading the projects believe that with government and private sector help these expenses could be slashed to less than £100 per tonne and energy use could also be scaled down.
Mr Cummings has engaged in several discussions to Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy, who has advised the US government on carbon capture.