Plant turns CO2 into baking soda

Skyonic Corporation, an Austin-based carbon-capture technology company, is to receive $3m (£1.9m) in US funding administered by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) that will help it develop a carbon-capture plant at Capitol Aggregates’ cement plant in San Antonio, Texas.

Phase one of the project, for which the funding was awarded, will involve modelling, simulation, design, costing and procurement activities in preparation for the construction of the plant.

Skyonic will work closely with Zachry Corporation, owner of Capitol Aggregates, and with design and construction engineers Ford, Bacon and Davis to complete the work.

In mid-2010, Skyonic will have the opportunity to apply for a phase-two grant from the DOE/NETL to support the construction of the plant, with the balance of the plant funded by private investors.

The Capitol-SkyMine plant is targeted to capture 75,000 metric-tonnes of CO2 from flue gas emitted by Capitol Aggregates’ cement plant and mineralise the CO2 emissions as baking soda, while also offsetting an additional 200,000 metric-tonnes of CO2 in the manufacture of benign chemical byproducts.

In addition to capturing and mineralising CO2, the process cleans SOx and NO2 from the flue gas, and removes heavy metals such as mercury.

The Capitol-SkyMine plant will operate at a profit, due to the sale of the byproducts, and is expected to generate more than 200 permanent jobs in Texas.

The mineralised CO2 (baking soda) will be used in several industrial applications and tested as feedstock for bio-algae fuels.