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The Capitol SkyMine is currently under construction in San Antonio, Texas. Source: Skyonic Corporation.
The Capitol SkyMine is currently under construction in San Antonio, Texas. Source: Skyonic Corporation.

From carbon dioxide to sand

Innovative new technology is currently being installed at a cement plant to turn its waste gas into saleable products while reducing its carbon footprint. 
Texas-based Skyonic Corporation is currently building the world’s first for-profit carbon mineralisation plant in San Antonio, Texas, using its carbon capture technology SkyMine. The technology, which is being retrofitted to the existing Capitol aggregate cement plant, will selectively capture and mineralise carbon dioxide from the factory’s industrial waste streams. 

One of the products SkyMine can convert the gas into is sodium bicarbonate, which could be used in building materials or as quarry landfill. Other by-products created by the electrolytic process include hydrochloric acid and bleach which could also be sold at a profit. In addition, the process removes sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and heavy metals such as mercury from the flue gas.

Skyonic told Bloomberg that 75,000 tonnes of the plant’s 500,000-tonne carbon dioxide annual output would be directly captured by the SkyMine, with 94 per cent of that to be converted into sodium bicarbonate. The company added that an additional 225,000 tonnes would be offset by eliminating the need to mine and produce the product, resulting in a net carbon emission reduction of approximately 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. 

Once operational, the plant is expected to turn a profit from the sale of its carbon by-products within three years, and will reportedly earn $USD50 million annually.

Interestingly, as part of its next technological step, Skyonic is testing heat as a way to turn carbon dioxide into sand and limestone. If the company is successful, it could mark a breakthrough for the construction materials industry as both of these products are used in building materials. Sand in particular is in high demand as a cement additive but its resources have been diminishing and the industry has been seeking alternative, non-mined sources.

“Industrial manufacturing is a cornerstone of the global economy and we’re doing our part to make the process more lucrative for industries and cleaner for the environment,” Skyonic founder and CEO Joe Jones said.

The SkyMine plant is expected to be operational from October this year.
Sources: Skyonic Corporation, Bloomberg

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Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 7:21am
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