Connecticut company Advanced Technology Materials Inc. (ATMI) is taking steps to commercialize a carbon capture process that radically brings down the cost because it's more than 90% more energy efficient other approaches.
"First commercialization will likely come from small-scale, industrial customers wanting to capture and reuse CO2 in their processes to reduce their raw materials costs and CO2 footprint," says Josh Sweeney, marketing director for ATMI."We believe this approach is also a good fit for the large-scale utility applications that dominate carbon capture discussions. With capture costs as low as $10 to $15 per ton achievable with this technology, large scale utilities are attractive longer-term targets."
Sky-high costs are one of the main barriers to carbon capture technology, which removes carbon emissions from industrial processes and power plants. After it's removed, carbon can be reused for a variety of purposes in addition to being stored deep underground. It can be recycled back for use in industrial processes and products and used for enhanced oil recovery.
ATMI's carbon capturing sorbent, "BrightBlack," absorbs CO2 and cycles it through a reactor, where it's mixed with proprietary gas-separation technology from California-based research and development firm SRI International. Once it's separated the sorbent is recirculated for reuse.
The result is a system that traps carbon dioxide (CO2) using far less heat than typical, amine-based capture processes.
In tests conducted by the Department of Energy, ATMI's process consistently separated out 95%-100% of carbon and the sorbent showed little degradation over 7,000 absorption-regeneration cycles.
ATMI wants to license the technology to power plants and the industrial sector, and is engaging potential development partners for rapid scale-up and commercial deployment of carbon capture systems.
The first large scale carbon sequestration project in the US is now operating in conjunction with an ethanol plant in Illinois.
Another interesting initiative, the Texas Clean Energy Project, is scheduled to come online in 2015. It will capture 2.9 million tons of carbon a year, 83% of which will be used for enhanced oil recovery.
One company wants to capture carbon from industrial processes and then use to create geothermal energy.
Shell is looking to reduce carbon emissions from tar sands by capturing it and injecting it underground.
Norway opened a $1 billion capture and storage plant in May 2012 - the largest in the world.
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