Category: Carbon utilization

The Critical Role of CCUS: Pathways to Deployment at Scale

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On December 3, 2020, the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) convened more than 80 representatives from government, industry, labor, academic, and non-profit organizations to discuss the current state of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS)a globally, as well as the opportunities, challenges, and solutions necessary to see large-scale CCUS deployment in the coming decade.

This virtual workshop, held under Chatham House rule, featured opening remarks by international experts in energy, decarbonization, and labor. Following the keynote discussion, a range of experts provided insights into a variety of technologies, policies, and business model approaches to enable
CCUS in the four main sessions. The expert presentations and panel discussions focused on the role of CCUS in clean energy transitions; experiences with CCUS—the critical niche it fills, the opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned from existing and planned projects; key technologies enabled by CCUS; and a roadmap for deploying CCUS in the United States.

The workshop concluded with remarks that again illuminated the importance of an equitable transition to net-zero emissions economy-wide by highlighting the importance of power generation or industry to certain communities, economies, and jobs. The insights from this workshop are summarized in this document.

Research program will grow algae to feed livestock using captured carbon dioxide at CWLP

Read the full story from News Channel 20.

Springfield is set to become the home of the world’s largest carbon capture research program at City Water Light and Power (CWLP).

The $67 million project is in partnership with the University of Illinois, and researchers will work to prove that carbon dioxide released by CWLP can be captured, instead of released into the air.

Now, there’s a plan for what to do with that captured carbon. It will be used to grow algae, which can then be converted into food for livestock. Algae ponds will be constructed at CWLP, and will operate for 2.5 years.

Decarbonisation tech instantly converts CO2 to solid carbon

Read the full story at TechXplore.

Australian researchers have developed a smart and super-efficient new way of capturing carbon dioxide and converting it to solid carbon, to help advance the decarbonisation of heavy industries.

The carbon dioxide utilization technology from researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, is designed to be smoothly integrated into existing industrial processes.

These gorgeous Zara party dresses are made from carbon emissions

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Before it was made into holiday dresses, the silky black fabric used in a new capsule collection from Zara started life as carbon emissions. At a steel mill in China, a startup called LanzaTech uses microbes to turn the factory’s captured emissions into ethanol, something that would usually be made from fossil fuels. The ethanol is then processed into monoethylene glycol, one of the components used to make polyester.

New project uses flue gas and wastewater to make algae

Aerial image of an algae cultivation system from Global Algae Innovations
Aerial image of an algae cultivation system from Global Algae Innovations

by Lisa Sheppard, Prairie Research Institute

A three-year, $2.5 million Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) engineering-scale project will be one of the first and largest to combine carbon dioxide (CO2) from a coal-fired power plant with nutrients from wastewater treatment plants to cultivate algae for animal feeds. The project will demonstrate that producing algae for commodity animal products can be cost-effective and has added environmental benefits.

Algae has been used for decades in the niche markets of health and beauty. A more recent focus is its ability to use CO2 from coal-fired power plants to make biofuels and protein-rich food products.

Algae is fast-growing compared with traditional terrestrial feed crops, so it’s an attractive alternative for use in taking up CO2 from power plants because it requires less land, according to ISTC principal investigator Lance Schideman. Researchers will use the algae species Spirulina because it is already FDA approved for use as a food ingredient and has a high protein content, which commands higher prices.

The algae cultivation system will be integrated with the City Water, Light and Power plant in Springfield, Illinois. Schideman is collaborating with University of Illinois researchers Joshua McCann and Carl Parsons, who will conduct the animal feed studies. Global Algae Innovations will provide the algae biomass production system to be demonstrated at field scale for this project. The project is co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory.

In the past, ISTC scientists have researched wastewater algae systems that are now used at 10 full-scale operating wastewater plants. They’ve also been a leader in recycling the byproducts of hydrothermal biofuel production to enhance algal biomass productivity. Global Algae Innovations is a leading designer and equipment supplier in the algae industry that has developed and demonstrated cost-effective, large-scale algae production systems.

“We’re putting all the pieces together in a coordinated fashion and lowering the net costs of growing algae using industrial and municipal by-products as inputs to improve the economic environmental sustainability of algal carbon capture,” Schideman said.

This approach reduces pollution and replaces the costly CO2 and nutrient inputs used in most algae cultivation systems. In the current commercial technology, managers buy liquid CO2 and various commercial fertilizers for the nutrient supply.

The wastewater, which is full of organic nutrients that support algae growth, will come from a local wastewater treatment plant.

“Using wastewater is a cost savings in the production process and it helps to solve problems that wastewater treatment plants are experiencing in trying to minimize nutrient discharges in the environment,” Schideman said. “In Illinois, the treatment plants are under increasing scrutiny, and regulations that are now voluntary are expected to become more stringent and potentially mandatory within the next decade.”

Ultimately, the system will produce feed especially for cattle and chickens. The product will be dry, which helps reduce spoilage, and will have a high nutritional value compared with some other feeds.

The typical price range for most bulk animal feed ingredients is $150–350 per ton, and certain high-value products can have a market value of $1,000–$2,000 per ton. Algae has the potential to command prices near the top of the range since some species contain highly nutritional components such as antioxidants and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. However, algal animal feeds are not yet established in the market, and the value of these products must be demonstrated through research studies like this one.

Schideman notes that the size of the animal feeds market is quite large and is a good match with the amount of CO2 produced by power plants around the country. Thus, using CO2 from flue gas in algae production has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gasses.


Media contact: Lance Schideman, 217-390-7070, schidema@illinois.edu
news@prairie.illinois.edu

LCA methodology application to assess the environmental impact of CCS and CCU: a review

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This article is a literature review on the state of the art of LCA (life cycle assessment) methodology application to study the environmental impact of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and CCU (carbon capture and use), regarded as two promising solutions to limit CO2-emissions to the atmosphere from powerplants. In order to avoid burden shifting, CCS and CCU options have been examined and compared not only in terms of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions, but also considering many other environmental impacts, and considering the whole life cycle of each application from raw materials extraction up to the end of life. The effect of different possible technologies for carbon capture is discussed too. At the end, a comparison between the main environmental impacts of CCS and different CCU options is provided, including the general considerations that can be drawn and that should guide future research on the topic. The big uncertainty that is still present in the available data, due to a lack of uniformity in the methodology followed in different LCAs, is underlined as the greatest limitation.

Meet the next generation of carbon campuses

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

From Net Zero Teesside in the United Kingdom to Houston’s Carbon Capture Hub, a new generation of carbon campuses — where carbon dioxide emissions are captured, used in products and stored underground — is coming online.

Using shared pipelines and other transportation networks, carbon hub facilities are cropping up near industrial centers. Their mission: connect emitters to CO2 conversion centers (where emissions will be recycled into usable products) and then to storage infrastructure such as injection wells.

Spotlighting the value of a low carbon cement solution across North America through a “Heroes” campaign

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In response to ever-increasing pressure on the cement and concrete industry for products with a lower carbon footprint, Lafarge in Canada and LafargeHolcim in the United States have partnered to launch a North America-wide campaign to raise awareness that environmentally-friendly cement products are a reality.

Most concrete produces pollution. This concrete is made of it

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The material that builds our world is the same one destroying it. Researchers in Tokyo have an intriguing solution.

This startup is using sunlight and captured CO2 to make jet fuel

Read the full story at Fast Company.

In a field in the desert next to a freeway in Tucson, Arizona, the sun beams down on a large mirror in a research park, powering a small reactor nearby. Inside that reactor, captured carbon dioxide is being transformed into synthetic jet fuel.

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