Monday, January 07, 2013

Calgary company tests carbon capture tech

Alberta is often slammed for having the second highest CO2 emissions per capita in Canada (after Saskatchewan) in part because of oilsands emissions, although in greater part because of its reliance on coal for electricity generation. I think it's kind of neat, therefore, that a Calgary company called Carbon Engineering is making a pilot plant that could potentially economically remove CO2 from the atmosphere. That would be a lot more useful than existing scrubbing technology, which captures emissions from big industrial plants, like the clean coal powerplant that TransAlta cancelled last year, because it could be performed anywhere in the world, not just in a place that happens to be a large source of CO2 and have a suitable reservoir to sequester the CO2 in. It's also a lot harder, since CO2 is so much less concentrated in the air compared to a smokestack's emissions. If Carbon Engineering can do it, they could find themselves in a very profitable position.

It may be easier said than done of course. I think it all hinges on the price they can sequester the CO2 for. They're going for the angle that CO2 itself is a "valuable gas", although in practice it's not, since I doubt they'll ever be able to undercut the price of CO2 produced as a by-product in many oil and gas fields. Still pretty interesting, worth checking out!