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10 November 2014 | by Gabor Chodkowski-Gyurics

US Skyonic opens commercial scale CCS facility

US Skyonic opens commercial scale CCS facility
World’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and utilization facility was opened on October 21 in San Antonio, Texas. The $125 million facility from Skyonic will have a total carbon removal capacity of 300,000 tons annually, through the direct capture of 75,000 tons of CO2 and transformation of the greenhouse gas into products like baking soda, bleach and hydrochloric acid.

The innovative carbon capture technology will allow to capture up to 90 percent of CO2 emissions from flue gas and transform them into solid products - otherwise manufactured in more carbon-intensive ways - that can then be sold for a profit. The facility is expected to generate approximately $48 million in revenue and $28 million profit annually.

There are 22 operational or planned CCS projects in the world now, but a November report from the Global CCS Instituted showed that the technology is still confined to a limited number of sectors. Two more facilities are set to open in the US by 2015, one will begin operations in Canada still in 2014.

Sectors in which CCS projects are currently viable include enhanced oil recovery or natural gas processing. The first CCS project to operate in the iron and steel sector is under construction in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would like to see a role for CCS to foster net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere as a part of climate change mitigation efforts to contain global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels.

Environmental organizations, however, consider CCS as a means to unnecessary prolonging the use of fossil fuels, which they propose to be phased out completely.


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