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Pilot Plant in the Works for Carbon Dioxide Cleansing

Potential business for cleaning the atmosphere and making some money.
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Saw this in The New York Times about a Canadian company that has developed a cleansing technology that may one day capture and remove some of this heat-trapping gas directly from the sky. And it is even possible that the gas could then be sold for industrial use.

Carbon Engineering (, formed in 2009 with $3.5 million from Bill Gates and others, created prototypes for parts of its cleanup system in 2011 and 2012 at its plant in Calgary, Alberta. The company, which recently closed a $3 million second round of financing, plans to build a complete pilot plant by the end of 2014 for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, said David Keith, its president and a Harvard professor who has long been interested in climate issues.

CE’s focused on cost effective, industrial scale, air-capture technologies includes in-house engineering, laboratory work, and pilot scale research in concert with out sourced design and testing performed by engineering firms and vendors.

A successful pilot plant will enable full commercialization of the technology.

CE will bring industrial-scale air capture to market, by designing and building the world’s first air capture plant. CE’s air capture process will provide a critical tool to manage carbon emissions and climate risk, and will capitalize on an expanding emissions management market space.

“The successful demonstration of a megaton-scale commercial facility will be the catalyst that ignites a large-scale air capture industry. This industry can then generate R&D required to drive down costs, allowing air capture to play a major role in solving the climate problem,” says David Keith, CE President.

The next big step towards full commercialization is the development of a fully integrated industrial pilot plant supplying at least 10,000 tons per year of CO2 to customers.

As we work to design and fund a pilot we will continue to explore high-value niches for CE’s technology, such as the development of compact air capture systems for remote production of high-value fuels.

A successful pilot plant will enable full commercialization of the technology, with facilities capturing anywhere from one-hundred kilotons to one million tons of CO2 per year. Running a one million-ton capture facility for a year is equivalent to taking roughly 300,000 cars off the road for that year.

Gary Mintchell has either worked in or covered manufacturing for his 30+ year career that included stints in product development, manufacturing engineering and IT-related projects. Having helped found Automation World in 2003, Gary retired from his day-to-day editor-in-chief duties in 2013. He continues to cover automation technology developments and related industry trends for Automation World. Contact Gary at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @garymintchell.


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