Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Possible Breakthrough in CO2 Flue Gas Capture

So exciting it makes your teeth sweat.
Or maybe not.

About once per year I get all fired up on one chemistry breakthrough or another. Last year the paper was "Carbon Dioxide Capture from the Air Using a Polyamine Based Regenerable Solid Adsorbent" which not only tied into the possibilities of an economy based on methanol but was co-written by a Nobel Chemisty Laureate. So far no follow-up. Here's another angle of attack:
From Newcastle University:

Could the humble sea urchin hold the key to carbon capture?
The discovery that sea urchins use Nickel particles to harness carbon dioxide from the sea could be the key to capturing tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Experts at Newcastle University, UK, have discovered that in the presence of a Nickel catalyst, CO2 can be converted rapidly and cheaply into the harmless, solid mineral, calcium carbonate.

This discovery, which is published today in the academic journal Catalysis Science & Technology, has the potential to revolutionise the way we capture and store carbon enabling us to significantly reduce CO2 emissions – the key greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

Dr Lidija Šiller, a physicist and Reader in Nanoscale Technology at Newcastle University, says the discovery was made completely by chance.

“We had set out to understand in detail the carbonic acid reaction – which is what happens when CO2 reacts with water – and needed a catalyst to speed up the process,” she explains....MORE
...The process developed by the Newcastle team involves passing the waste gas directly from the chimney top, through a water column rich in Nickel nano-particles and recovering the solid calcium carbonate from the bottom.

Dr Šiller adds: “The capture and removal of CO2 from our atmosphere is one of the most pressing dilemmas of our time.

“Our process would not work in every situation – it couldn’t be fitted to the back of a car, for example – but it is an effective, cheap solution that could be available world-wide to some of our most polluting industries and have a significant impact on the reduction of atmospheric CO2.”

The team have patented the process and are now looking for an investor to take it forward.
One person who may be interested, Kyle Bass at Hayman Capital Management.