The interest in reducing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere has led to the development of technologies that collect the remaining gases from exhaust stream abatement, also known as flue gas, and separate them to produce clean final products. One of those being CO2. This means that carbon dioxide that would have been released into the open air, adding to global warming effects, is now being collected and repurposed often generating revenue.
Carbon Liquefaction takes place when carbon dioxide is purified and liquefied for other applications. This is achieved through a multi-step process.
- Cool Down and Compression: The flue gas coming out of the combustion and / or pollution control equipment is fed into a cooling unit that uses water (or other means) to bring the high temperature down. The water-gas mixture is then separated with the remaining cooled off gas going into a compressor to get the gas pressure regulated to the required operating pressure. Heat recovery from the flue gas cooling process can result it the production of hot water, hot air, or steam for use in plant processes.
- Scrubber: The compressed gas, consisting of mainly CO2, is processed through a scrubber to remove any contaminants and alcohols. There are several different types of scrubbers and each type of scrubber media removes particles and compounds in a different way; some chemical reactions while others use electrostatic adhesion.
- Drying and Filtration: Dryers are then used to remove any remaining moisture from the gas before it passes through a secondary filtration system, often a carbon adsorber. This clears the CO2 of any remaining contaminants. The CO2 is now ready for liquification.
- Liquefaction: The now dry and clean carbon dioxide is passed through a reboiler. The inert components that are left are pushed out of the top of the distillation column while the liquified CO2 flows out of the bottom. It is then stored or transported to its final destination ready to use.
- Geologic Sequestration (Carbon Capture & Storage – CCS): Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a means to capture anthropogenic created CO2 and inject it deep underground for permanent geologic storage. This is done in lieu of releasing it to atmosphere. CCS can also be used in large stationary facilities like fossil fuel-based power stations, ethanol plants, oil and gas processing facilities, cement plants, and other factories. When used in these facilities, CCS becomes CCUS for carbon capture, utilization, and storage.
There are many uses for CO2 and many trading markets and tax incentives that encourage its use. The three most common sources of revenue for facilities beneficially using carbon dioxide include:
Beneficial Uses: Recovered carbon dioxide is consumed in a number of manufacturing processes. Common applications include:
- Food and Beverage: Carbon dioxide is used to prepare carbonated beverages for the preservation of fruits, in bread making, and to prevent further fermentation and oxidization in beer and wine productions. One example of this value stream can be found in this link where Gulf Coast Environmental Systems assisted a steel manufacturer with a project in which the CO2 recovered from their process was sold and used by a major mainstream soda brand.
- Refrigerant: Carbon dioxide is used in heat pumps and refrigerators to provide cooling.
- Fire Protection: It is a matter of fact that Carbon Dioxide is the best gas to be used in extinguishing a fire.
Carbon Trading: Carbon credits can be sold or traded between participating facilities. One ton of carbon equates to a single carbon credit, which is worth between $10 and $30 U.S. dollars, depending on the market. The market for carbon credits was created to lessen the concentration of growth in the release of greenhouse gases. This works by allowing facilities to trade off the amount of emissions they are allowed to release in a capped market. If a plant is emitting far below the allotted amount, they may sell their credits to a facility that is meeting or exceeding their allotted amount. Under this system, the same amount of pollution is being released in one specific capped area while assisting facilities in not exceeding their air pollution caps.
Tax Incentives: Countries on nearly every continent are changing their regulations and attempting to incentivize industries to get on board with carbon emissions reduction. These tax breaks and incentives vary from region to region, but could be available on a city, county, state, air district, industry, and country level.
Example: 45Q is a section of the US tax code that provides a performance-based tax credit for carbon capture projects. The credits can be claimed when an eligible project has:
Securely kept the captured CO2 in geologic formations. IE: oil fields and saline formations
Used captured CO2 or its precursor carbon monoxide (CO) as a feedstock to produce fuels, chemicals, and products such as concrete in a way that results in emissions reductions as defined by federal requirements.
Taking on a CO2 project can be overwhelming. Finding the right partner for this type of project is essential. A partner should be able to handle every step of the process including:
- Provide a cost-analysis on the project
- Counsel on potential funding opportunities
- Advise on local, state, regional, and federal regulations and incentives
- Be knowledgeable on available markets
- Provide the equipment and technologies
- Purchase or advise on buyers of recovered materials, like food and beverage carbon
GCES can help facilities make sense of all these options, implement a green energy program, and guide customers in the carbon credit trading market. If you are interested in learning more about your options in CO2 recovery, contact GCES at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832.476.9024