Tuticorin thermal power station near the port of Thoothukudi on the Bay of Bengal, southern India. The plant is said to be the first industrial-scale example of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU). Photograph: Roger Harrabin
Thanks to the Guardian’s Environment section for this news:
A breakthrough in the race to make useful products out of planet-heating CO2 emissions has been made in southern India.
A plant at the industrial port of Tuticorin is capturing CO2 from its own coal-powered boiler and using it to make soda ash – aka baking powder.
Crucially, the technology is running without subsidy, which is a major advance for carbon capture technology as for decades it has languished under high costs and lukewarm government support.
The firm behind the Tuticorin process says its chemicals will lock up 60,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and the technology is attracting interest from around the world.
Debate over carbon capture has mostly focused until now on carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which emissions are forced into underground rocks at great cost and no economic benefit. The Tuticorin plant is said to be the first industrial scale example of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).
There is already a global market for CO2 as a chemical raw material. It comes mainly from industries such as brewing where it is cheap and easy to capture.
Until now it has been too expensive without subsidy to strip out CO2 from the relatively low concentrations in which it appears in flue gas. The Indian plant has overcome the problem by using a new CO2-stripping chemical.
It is just slightly more efficient than the current CCS chemical amine, but its inventors, Carbonclean, say it also needs less energy, is less corrosive, and requires much smaller equipment meaning the build cost is much lower than for conventional carbon capture…