In Chennai, India, an interesting way to combat rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is underway. Carbon is being captured using a new process in a coal-fired power plant. This process is being undertaken by a chemical manufacturer known as Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilizers and they are using this process to produce soda ash.
In May 2016, a pilot project was carried out by Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (a London-based processing company). The project was successful in producing soda ash. Soda ash is better known as sodium carbonate and it is used for a number of purposes including the creation of sweeteners and the manufacturing of glass while it is also used during the fibreglass insulation process.
Another product of sodium carbonate is baking soda.
According to the CEO of Carbon Cleaning Solutions, their latest project is going to be a game changer especially since the project will not have to rely on any funding from the government, so it is a great model for businesses. And so far it is working well in India, one of the first countries to run this specific project.
Carbon Clean Solutions states that they are able to capture carbon dioxide at a rate of just $30 per metric ton. At that rate, they are able to capture carbon dioxide at a much lower price than what is usual. It is now estimated that each year the project will be able to capture around 60 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, contributing to the efforts of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Not a new concept but a more effective one
There were two notable projects that preceded this one:
- A USA based start-up company was one of the first companies to build a plant that was designed to convert carbon released by a cement company in Texas. Some of the outputs from the factory included baking soda.
- In 2015, a company based in Germany took the process a step further and used the emissions gathered from carbon capture in the processing of ceramics as well as in the production of plastics and rubber.
However, the project currently underway in India, differs in that it will be the first of its kind to produce baking soda as a by-product of carbon capture. At the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California, they have developed a small sponge that will use baking soda to do the carbon capture. With this new method, they believe that the carbon capture process will not only be more efficient but will also be much cheaper. The CO2 that is collected through the capture process will be fed into the plant based in Chennai, India. And the plant itself produces no carbon emissions, making its operations and products 100% clean.
In a developing country like India, this is an excellent small business opportunity for the people making it a project that can be replicated in other poorer nations around the world.
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