Archive for category Products from CO2

CO2-to-Methanol Using NHCs as Organocatalysts – Singapore Scientists

Posted by on Friday, 12 February, 2010

Scientists in Singapore say they’ve found a way to turn carbon dioxide into methanol, a biofuel. How that might be applied to capturing the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere remains to be seen.

Scientists in Singapore say they’ve found a low-temperature, low-energy way to turn carbon dioxide into methanol, providing a potential revenue stream for carbon capture projects in the form of a biofuel and industrial chemical output.

The researchers at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology say the new process is a marked improvement over previous methods of turning the world’s major greenhouse gas into a useful product.

The new process uses d N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) as an organocatalyst, then adds hydrosilicane – a combination of silica and hydrogen – and water to make methanol, according to a study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.



Cyclic Carbonates from CO2 – Newcastle Univ Breakthrough

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Scientists at Newcastle University have pioneered breakthrough technology in the fight to cut greenhouse gases. The Newcastle University team, led by Michael North, Professor of Organic Chemistry, has developed a highly energy-efficient method of converting waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into chemical compounds known as cyclic carbonates.

The team estimates that the technology has the potential to use up to 48 million tonnes of waste CO2 per year, reducing the UK’s emissions by about four per cent.

Cyclic carbonates are widely used in the manufacture of products including solvents, paint-strippers, biodegradable packaging, as well as having applications in the chemical industry.

More from here

Geo-Processors Turns Bicarbonate Wastewater to Useful Products Using CO2

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Sydney based company Geo-Processors Pty Limited announced the completion of development of a breakthrough Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology following successful initial process trials.

The technology – identified as Carbon Capture and Products Recovery (CCPR) system – enables efficient capture of CO2 from ambient air or point-sources and then conversion to mineral byproducts for industrial use or recycling.

Central to this technology is the use of massive volumes of bicarbonate-rich water produced as waste water by oil/gas production, coal mining and coal power stations and desalination processes – currently a source of environmental concerns and operational costs.

More from here

New Copper Molecule Sucks Carbon Dioxide from Air

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

A team at Leiden University have shown that a complex molecule containing atoms of copper can remove carbon dioxide, create useful chemical by-products, and return to its original state to repeat the process.

The technique appears to be an attractive way to capture carbon dioxide, but is still impractical for attempts at climate engineering, according to the researchers who have described their experiments in a paper published in the US journal Science.

Their studies have also shown that when raw materials are added to the complex, the carbon dioxide is used up to create industrially useful compounds such as oxalic acid.

More from here

SkyMine from Skyonic – Baking Soda from CO2

Posted by on Thursday, 11 February, 2010

Can baking soda curb global warming? At least one company thinks the answer is yes.

Joe David Jones, the founder and CEO of Skyonic, has come up with an industrial process called SkyMine that captures 90 percent of the carbon dioxide coming out of smoke stacks and mixes it with sodium hydroxide to make sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. The energy required for the reaction to turn the chemicals into baking soda comes from the waste heat from the factory.

The system also removes 97 percent of the heavy metals, as well as most of the sulfur and nitrogen compounds, Jones said.

Luminant, a utility formerly known as TXU, installed a pilot version of the system at its Big Brown Steam Electric Station in Fairfield, Texas, last year.

More from here

Reducing CO2 Emissions During Coal to Fuel Production

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

Scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, have made a breakthrough that reduces carbon dioxide emissions from the source, and that can be applied to a range of processes.

Minimising carbon dioxide emissions at the source has not been a traditional goal in designing plants, and design techniques to do so are not well developed.

For a plant making liquid fuel from coal, rather than using carbon monoxide and hydrogen as intermediates, which is the current method, one can reduce the overall carbon dioxide emissions by using carbon dioxide and hydrogen as intermediates in the process, say the researchers.

The example stated already reaches beyond mere research, and Glasser says that there is a pilot plant running in China and a demonstration plant in Australia, which incorporate these ideas.


CO2 Fixed in Bauxite – Alcoa’s CO2 Capture Process in Australia

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 February, 2010

Here’s an interesting piece of news on fixing CO2 as a carbonate.

Developed in Australia by Alcoa’s Technology Delivery Group, the process works by mixing carbon dioxide into the bauxite residue from aluminium production – forming stable inorganic minerals and ‘locking in’ CO2 that would otherwise be emitted to the atmosphere.

The long-term plan is to deploy the carbon capture technology at Alcoa’s other refineries around the world – in the Australian refineries alone, this could permanently store as much as 300,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Although this first-of-a-kind plant has used offsite emissions, Alcoa expect most of their other carbon capture plants will use CO2 from on-site powerhouse emissions.

The Kwinana carbon capture plant was built in 2000 and initially operated as a trial facility. For the last two years, it has carbonated around 25% of the Kwinana refinery’s residue output. Construction of a CO2 pipeline in 2007 has allowed throughput to be increased to 80% of the refinery’s residue output with plans to increase it further to 95%.

The Kwinana carbon capture plant was built in 2000 and initially operated as a trial facility. For the last two years, it has carbonated around 25% of the Kwinana refinery’s residue output.

Residue management is a key sustainability issue for the aluminium industry because of residue volumes and long-term storage requirements.

Up to two tonnes of bauxite residue are generated for every tonne of alumina produced.

The residue is a mixture of minerals that are left behind when the alumina is removed from the bauxite. Mixing concentrated CO2 into the residue reduces its pH level from 13.5 to 10.5. At this level of alkalinity, the residue presents a significantly lower environmental risk and has the potential to be re-used as a value-added resource, for example in road base, building materials or soil amendments.

This is indeed exciting, folks. What makes it even more interesting is that it is not just theory but things are happening on the ground.

More from here

CO2 to Gasoline, Fuel Using Enzymes – Carbon Sciences’ Biocatalysts

Posted by on Thursday, 28 January, 2010

Read recently about the announcement from Carbon Sciences that it has developed a breakthrough technology to recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into gasoline and other portable fuels.

The company’s current approach is an enzyme-based process used to transform CO2 into low-level fuels, such as methanol. According to the company, it’s team has now discovered a new and more cost efficient process to produce gasoline, a high-level fuel, from CO2. The key features of this breakthrough includes (1) the of use flue emissions directly from coal-fired power plants or industrial factories, (2) the use of brackish water, eliminating the need for distilled freshwater as the source of hydrogen and reaction medium, (3) mild operating conditions, eliminating the need for capital intensive stainless steel equipment, and (4) a highly scalable system.

I was able to get some more insights on the technology and process, but not surprisingly, a lot more – from the company’s web page. See also here.

The path that the company is pursuing – a biocatalytic process to obtain useful hydrocarbons from CO2 – is exciting, but there are few details on the specifics, as well as data on energy required for the entire process.

Well, to its credit, the company does say the following:”By innovating at the intersection of chemical engineering and bio-engineering, we have discovered a low energy and highly scalable process to recycle large quantities of CO2 into gaseous and liquid fuels using organic biocatalysts. The key to our CO2-to-Fuel approach lies in a proprietary multi-step biocatalytic process. Instead of using expensive inorganic catalysts, such as zinc, gold or zeolite, with traditional high energy catalytic chemical processes, our process uses inexpensive, renewable biomolecules to catalyze certain chemical reactions required to transform CO2 and water (H2O) into fuel molecules. Of greatest significance, our process occurs at low temperature and low pressure, thereby requiring far less energy than other approaches.” (Source)

But still, I think their research is at an initial stage and unless we see results from larger-scale commercial efforts with benchmarked data, it will be difficult to know whether indeed this interesting idea can be a serious solution to CO2 capture (I doubt whether it can be called sequestration because the CO2 will be released when the gasoline burns).

CO2 to Bioplastics, Biochemicals Using Microorganisms – RWE, BRAIN Partnership

Posted by on Saturday, 16 January, 2010

At my company, we had been doing a good amount of work last six months to understand the latest efforts and innovations being attempted in sequestering CO2 from power plant emissions.

One of the areas we had been doing research was in converting the CO2 into useful products that have market values. This concept is exciting for two reasons: (1) It is a novel method of CO2 capture, and (2) It can make the entire CO2 sequestration efforts more sustainable.

I must admit that the findings of our research were not all together positive. Our preliminary conclusion was that, outside of using it for cement making, there are few products that can utilize exhaust CO2 in a sustainable and scalable manner in order to make any meaningful difference to the global CO2 mitigation efforts. Using CO2 for plastics appeared to be an exciting area, but we figured that neither the technical nor the economic feasibility was anywhere close to being clear.

Our research was only a preliminary research, and we plan to resume the research from where we left in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, this press release caught my eyes “RWE Power, BRAIN Join Forces in White Biotech: Co-Operation on CO2 as Raw Material for New Products”. Naturally, I was excited to know more about it.

Well, this is the essence of the press release:”To convert carbon dioxide into microbial biomass or biomolecules: such is the goal of co-operative research agreed between RWE Power and BRAIN AG from Zwingenberg. The power generator and the biotech company want to equip micro-organisms” with new enzymes and explore innovative synthesis-routes and pathways. Flue gas, rich in CO2 from a lignite-fired power station, feeds these designer micro-organisms. The process creates biomass and industrial products such as new biomaterials, bioplastics and chemical by-products. Possible applications, now being explored, include building and isolation materials and the production of fine and specialty chemicals. An experimental plant is to be located at RWE Power’s Coal Innovation Centre, at its Niederaussem power plant site.”

OK, so the folks are trying to use designer micro-organisms and figure out if they could arrive at useful end products as a result. This is not exactly unheard of – during our research, we had come across a few companies that were attempting to produce products from CO2 using microbes and biotech pathways, but most of them were small labs and universities, or small companies. So it is good to know that some large companies are making some efforts in this domain as well.

RWE is a well-known power company which also has been pioneering quite a few CCS efforts. But I knew little about B.R.A.I.N (oh well, that’s the way the company represent themselves!). Here’s something more about them – . An European biotech company, they appear to have been more focussed on chemicals, food and pharma industries thus far, with their biocatalysts, enzymes and other bio-based intermediaries. The GHG abatement industry must be a new one for them.

It is with some disappointment that I saw that there were few insights into what the companies actually planned to poduce in terms of end products. Will be keenly watching their updates.