Back in the 80’s, Aussie enviro-rockers Midnight Oil sang a song about a blue sky mine–now, a company from Texas has developed their own version. It’s a scrubber that attaches to smokestack flue and scrubs carbon from emissions, crystallizing them into carbonates and benign chemicals (which, incidentally, it plans to sell as mineral products).
It may sound like some blue-sky dreaming sci-fi, but the Skyonic Corporation–which has pioneered this technology–recently announced the opening of its first carbon mineralization demonstration facility at one of the largest cement plants in Texas (Capitol Aggregates, Ltd. in San Antonio). Using what the company claims is a scalable, environmentally-safe carbon-mineralization process, the demonstration facility is envisioned as a pilot plant to support the build out of a large-scale commercial SkyMine plant at the site. Byproducts will help to supply the market for sodium bicarbonates, or baking soda, to be used in feed stocks, glass manufacturing and even algae biofuel production.
If this process works–and the company is able to turn a profit on their carbon sequestered minerals–the implications could be huge, a fact that doesn’t seem to have escaped its investors. “Skyonic’s approach to carbon capture and storage has the potential to radically change how we view CO2,” said Carl Berg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Skyonic investor, in a statement. “Providing companies a viable means to both green its production operations and turn a profit in the process is a compelling prospect for companies when evaluating how they will meet stricter emissions mandates.”