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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Skyonic’s twist on carbon capture turns CO2 into baking soda | SmartPlanet
Skyonic developed its so-called Skymine technology, which can be retrofitted onto power plants or other industrial factories that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. The technology captures the CO2 from the exhaust stream and turns it into solids instead of a gas. It can then be processed into food-grade bicarbonate (baking soda) and hydrochloric acid, both of which can be sold to generate revenue and offset the carbon capture and conversion process.
The Skymine also cleans sulfur oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from the flue gas and removes heavy metals such as mercury.
Skyonic designed and built a pilot project at Capitol Aggregates that captures under 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year, Jones said. The $125 million project will build the technology out to a commercial scale capable of capturing 83,000 short tons of CO2 a year and converting 157,000 tons of bicarbonate.
It costs about $45 a ton to capture and convert the carbon emissions into bicarbonate, Jones said. Those costs should be greatly offset and even eliminated with the sale of the bicarbonate and other chemicals, he added. Once the commercial-scale project at Capitol Aggregates is complete, it will be able to produce $45 million in chemicals each year, Jones said.
The business model of the endeavor hinges on a couple of factors, including the bicarbonate market and the cost of capturing the carbon. What happens, for example, if hundreds of plants outfitted with Skymine start to produce bicarbonate and HCL?
The market can absorb any additional bicarbonate or HCL production, Jones said. “HCL is in great demand right now because of the oil and gas activity here,” he said. “And we’re making it at a 30 percent lower cost than the traditional method.” He added that Skyonic’s process can produce other chemicals as well such as bleach, chlorine and hydrogen.
As for the cost of the technology, Jones said continued research and development could help drive down the cost below $20 per ton.