Start-up Skyonic Opens Carbon Dioxide-To-Chemicals Plant | October 27, 2014 Issue - Vol. 92 Issue 43 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 92 Issue 43 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: October 27, 2014

Start-up Skyonic Opens Carbon Dioxide-To-Chemicals Plant

Company says its facility is the first to succeed at a new kind of carbon capture
Department: Business
Keywords: carbon capture, carbon dioxide, Department of Energy

In San Antonio last week, the start-up firm Skyonic opened what it claims to be an industrial first: a commercial-scale facility that captures carbon dioxide emissions and converts them into salable chemicals.

Built at a cost of $125 million, the facility will consume up to 75,000 metric tons per year of CO2 generated as a by-product at an adjacent cement plant. The company expects to log $48 million in sales and $28 million in earnings annually by marketing the resulting sodium bicarbonate and hydrochloric acid.

The chemicals are made in a process patented by Skyonic founder Joe Jones. The firm uses conventional electrolysis to turn sodium chloride into sodium hydroxide, chlorine, and hydrogen. It then reacts sodium hydroxide with CO2 to form sodium bicarbonate. The chlorine and hydrogen that remain are converted into hydrochloric acid.

In a report generated for the Department of Energy, which put $28 million into the project, Skyonic acknowledges that the energy-intensive electrolysis process does subtract from the plant’s CO2 reduction benefit. But the firm still calculates a net CO2 savings, especially when the chemical sales are considered.

John Thompson, director of the fossil transition program at the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit that has been following Skyonic’s progress, agrees that the project should turn a profit. “That’s a good thing,” he says.

Thompson points out that the bicarbonate and HCl markets aren’t big enough to support multiple plants of this type, but he notes that Skyonic plans to apply its technology to the production of limestone and other raw materials for the huge concrete industry.

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Teodulo Rolando De Montemayor y Estrada (October 29, 2014 6:44 PM)
Dear Sirs I am a Chemical Engineer graduated in 1960 from the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), my first job after graduating as a chemical engineer was in Mexico City as Engineer Process Development in Pennsalt Chemical Industries, as you know Pennsalt it was a major producer of caustic soda and chlorine and many other chemicals derived from these two basic products. Some years later, in 1985, I developed for myself a simple process to manufacture sodium bicarbonate in a jacketed vessel, one who works at Atmospheric Pressure.

Because of my experiences I know all the problems and difficulties they had to overcome in order to operate the process. Through this mail I want to send my congratulations to Skyonic Company and my best wishes to them for the operation of their business will be successful both technical and economic

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