The Department of Energy and Skyonic Corp. marked the opening of a project demonstration for converting carbon dioxide into commercial products. This new plant will use a process to capture 75,000 tons of CO2 from a San Antonio, Texas, cement plant and convert the greenhouse gas into other products, including sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, hydrochloric acid and bleach.
The SkyMine project, invented by Skyonic, has already had a substantial effect on the local economy, creating over 250 jobs during construction, and will host more than 40 new permanent full-time jobs. This nearly $40 million project included $28 million in grants awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
"Today's announcement demonstrates the range and potential for carbon capture technologies,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "Through this partnership, the Department has shown its commitment to finding innovative uses for carbon that can have a positive impact on the economy while also reducing carbon emissions."
The SkyMine technology was designed to retrofit existing coal-burning facilities, but also has potential applications for heavy industry, including cement, glass, steel and natural gas power. The byproducts produced through this process will offset other products with higher carbon footprints, and can be safely stored indefinitely. The company also plans on testing these products as a feedstock for algae-derived biofuels.
The technology builds upon several years of modeling, testing, and analysis performed by Skyonic and supported by the DOE. The process will also remove most of the sulfur oxides, nitric oxides, mercury, and other heavy metals from the flue gas.