Enzyme-based Capture Carbon – CO2 CCS Idea from Blood
Read an interesting article on how United Technologies is mimicking a blood enzyme to capture carbon from coal plants.
OK, this doesn’t sound like something that could be implemented within the next many, many years, but it is an interesting idea all the same.
We all know that our blood cells constantly capture CO2 and move it someplace better. This is quite analogous to what coal-fired power plant operators may want to do with all the carbon dioxide at their power plants.
Using this analogy as the base, scientists at United Technologies’ research center are trying to develop industrial blood–a synthetic version of the enzyme that blood uses to capture CO2.
The scientists envision a simpler, cheaper system involving membranes that sift carbon dioxide out of the flue gas. By doping the membrane with a substance based on the enzyme that blood uses to capture CO2, called carbonic anhydrase, the team hopes to facilitate precise carbon catpure.
Carbonic anhydrase, found in red blood cells, grabs the CO2 and transforms it into a bicarbonate ion and a proton, which dissolves easily in the blood and can then be carried away to the lungs. In the lungs the enzyme does the opposite: it changes the bicarbonate back into CO2 so it can be breathed out.
There’s more about it here, so those who wish to understand the science better are requested to read it. Me, I would like to be more practical. What is the chance that such a technology would ever come out of the labs and into the commercial space? And if it indeed does, how long would that take? And the evergreen billion dollar question – how much would that cost?