In Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, a coal-fired thermal power station captures carbon dioxide and turns it into baking soda. While capturing CO2 is nothing new, but this particular plant uses a new proprietary solvent that is more efficient than those used conventionally, requiring a little less energy and smaller apparatus to run. The most impressive part, however, is it’s running without subsidies.
Until now it has been too expensive without subsidy to strip out CO2 from the relatively low concentrations in which it appears in flue gas. The Indian plant has overcome the problem by using a new CO2-stripping chemical.
It is just slightly more efficient than the current CCS chemical amine, but its inventors, Carbonclean, say it also needs less energy, is less corrosive, and requires much smaller equipment meaning the build cost is much lower than for conventional carbon capture.
Carbonclean believes capturing usable CO2 can deal with perhaps 5-10% of the world’s emissions from coal. It’s no panacea, but it would be a valuable contribution because industrial steam-making boilers are hard to run on renewable energy.