Mining Baking Soda From Greenhouse Gas Emissions
What’s the Latest Development?
This week San Antonio, TX saw construction begin on what will be the first-ever commercial plant designed to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into baking soda, hydrogen gas, and chlorine gas. The aptly-named Skymine plant will work alongside a cement works, where it will treat emissions with sodium hydroxide to create the products, which can then be used in industrial and commercial applications. Skyonic CEO and founder Joe Jones says that their technology, which has been in development since 2004, will “drive down the price of carbon sequestration process to around $20 per ton.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Most carbon sequestration involves injecting carbon dioxide underground, but the economics prevent this from taking place on a greater scale. Skymine represents the first attempt to mass-mineralize it using a process that’s affordable and carbon-negative. It’s projected to remove about 83,000 tons from the air, which unfortunately won’t make a huge dent in reducing the effects of carbon dioxide on the environment. However, a separate Skyonic technology that involves creating calcium-based products, such as limestones and chalks, could. Noting the vast amounts of natural limestone available, Jones says, “Disposing of CO2 as solids has already been proven to work over very long, geological periods of time.”
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