CO2 Solutions says it has demonstrated that its enzyme-enabled carbon capture technology is at least one-third less expensive than existing carbon capture technology in terms of energy consumption, and can withstand the rigors of industrial application — two technical performance milestones for its Alberta oil sands project, the company says.
The project will now proceed to the large-bench scale (0.5 metric ton/day CO2 capture) testing phase for the remainder of 2013 where the same performance metrics will be validated under flue gas conditions. Following successful large-bench validation and, according to the current schedule, the project will move to field pilot-scale (approximately 15 metric tons/day CO2 capture) testing in 2014, CO2 Solutions says.
CO2 Solutions’ enzymatic technology yielded an energy cost reduction of at least 33 percent compared to existing carbon capture technologies when employed to capture 90 percent of the CO2 emissions from natural gas combustion at a typical in-situ oil sands operation, the company says. The 33 percent cost reduction was achieved without any process optimization, and the company expects further savings upon optimization and operational integration in later development phases.
The project target was to demonstrate a cost reduction of 25 percent relative to existing carbon capture technologies.
The company says the selected solvent is also better for the environment compared to other methods.
The project shows that CO2 Solutions’ patented enzyme-accelerated process can be deployed efficiently at low temperatures, which can simplify process configuration and shows the solvent’s longevity, the company says.
These milestones were included in the contribution agreements for the government of Canada’s ecoEnergy Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) and Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) grants funding the project.
Unconventional oil production in the Alberta oil sands has received much attention for its higher overall carbon footprint compared to conventional oil production. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a way to reduce emissions from the oil sands, and as such has been a focus of industry and government. However, the cost of conventional CCS technologies is prohibitive to broad commercial deployment.
CO2 Solutions says its technology addresses this cost barrier using the enzyme catalyst, carbonic anhydrase, which is responsible for managing CO2 in respiration in humans and other living organisms. The company says its enzymatic technology enhances existing solvent-based gas scrubbing architecture to increase process efficiency and lower operating and capital costs.