With 70% of global energy demand currently met through the burning of carbon-based fuels, and demand predicted to double by 20351, the world faces a growing challenge: how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions which cause climate change, while not damaging a global economy dependent on fossil fuels.
A central issue to this carbon emissions problem is the fact that approximately 8,200 large stationary sources of CO2 worldwide – coal and natural gas-fired power plants, oil and gas production facilities and other large industrial plants – generate 14.7 billion tonnes of annual emissions, or half of all total global anthropogenic CO2 emissions2.
In order to directly and effectively address the climate change challenge, these large sources of emissions must be held accountable for reducing their impact on the environment. There are two types of applications for mitigating the pollution caused by these large GHG emitters: CO2 capture and reuse, that offers the benefit of value-adding carbon dioxide as a useful, multi-purpose raw material; and CO2 capture and storage.
CO2 Solutions’ enzyme-accelerated solvent technology provides an elegant solution for the capture of CO2 from effluent gases and the production of pure CO2 therein for utilization. There are two types of CO2 reuse: direct or with conversion.
Direct reuse applies to emitting companies that themselves require CO2 in their industrial processes. In this context, CO2 Solutions’ technology offers companies that both emit and purchase CO2 the ability to have their own on-site capture plant in order to reuse the same CO2 again and again. They can also reduce or eliminate their dependence on external CO2 suppliers, or improve existing production or CO2 capture processes, thereby lowering input costs.
Reuse with conversion applies to emitting companies that don’t require carbon dioxide for their industrial processes, but who can sell the CO2 they capture to nearby third parties that do need it. The polluting carbon gas is thereby converted into a useful, clean production component that can be used for a multitude of applications.
In this context, with an agreement between the two companies, the carbon-capture installations are fitted with pipes suitable for transferring the CO2 from the seller to the buyer. The process benefits both parties – the seller reduces their environmental footprint while generating revenues from their emissions and making their business more profitable; the buyer can rely on a supply of CO2 that is reliable, economical and environmentally friendly.
The local community benefits as well, seeing a boost in their economy and decreased air pollution. This type of application, which adds value to carbon dioxide, demonstrates the enormous potential of the new carbon economy developed by CO2 Solutions.
Due to its physical characteristics, many applications for using carbon dioxide (CO2) industrially have been developed over the years. Some uses go back centuries when fermentation of foodstuffs (malt, wheat, grapes, etc.) led to the production of alcohol, wines, or beers in which CO2 was partly re-used in the process, particularly to exclude air. Other applications for CO2 are more recent, partly as a result of the growing will to use more environmentally friendly products – such as carbon dioxide's use as a benign solvent, as opposed to chemical solvents.
There are many applications for the reuse of CO2, the most common ones outlined in this section. At the heart of the new carbon economy developed by CO2 Solutions, is the idea that the reuse of CO2 released from stationary sources in the form of greenhouse gases is the most desirable environmental solution for reducing pollution, while transforming the gas into a source of revenues.
By creating value from carbon gas, it is entirely plausible that applications for CO2 reuse will see tremendous and sustained growth in the coming years and decades. With far better performance than conventional carbon-capture technologies, CO2 Solutions’ technology was specifically designed to allow large-scale greenhouse gas emitters to profit from this market in dynamic evolution.
Another strategy in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions is through carbon capture and storage (CCS), also enabled by CO2 Solutions’ innovative technology. This process is primarily for large GHG emitters who do not use CO2 for their industrial processes and who cannot sell any CO2 they capture to nearby third parties.
The process of CCS, shown in the figure below, involves selectively removing CO2 from the effluent gases of a power plant or other industrial source and permanently storing the emissions deep underground, most commonly in saline formations.
Illustration: Geologic sequestration of CO2 (3)
Governments around the globe are beginning to grapple with the magnitude of the climate change challenge, and the need to act now. In its Fifth Assessment Report entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognized carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a key part of the mix of various technologies necessary to solve this challenge and reduce the impacts of climate change. The full report can be accessed here.
The IPCC has previously estimated that there are at least 2 trillion tonnes of CO2 storage capacity in appropriate geological formations globally4. Based on this and the fact that large industrial plants generate 14.7 billion tonnes of emissions annually, there are approximately 136 years of storage for CO2 emissions worldwide.
CO2 Solutions’ revolutionary ecological technology is perfectly designed to help large GHG emitters responsibly capture and store CO2 much more cost-effectively than with other technologies currently on the market. It is the start of the industrial lung era – and the new carbon economy.
1 U.S. Energy Information Administration
2 International Energy Agency (IEA) GHG Program; large source defined as >100,000 tonnes-CO2 emissions annually.
3 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, May 2015
4 IPCC, Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, 2005 (https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/)