QUEBEC CITY—Global aluminum manufacturer Alcoa is teaming up with two clean tech companies on a pilot project to turn industrial emissions into a commercial product.
CO2 Solution is a carbon capture technology company in Quebec City. Codexis is a clean tech firm in Redwood, Calif. Together, they’ll be working on a $16.5-million carbon capture project at Alcoa’s technical centre in Pittsburg.
Alcoa is funding the project with a $13.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The project will apply solutions to alkaline industrial residuals, byproducts of the aluminum manufacturing process also known as bauxite residue.
Scientists will use a scrubbing process with treated flue gas, enzymes and alkaline clay to create a neutralized product that is high in nutrients and could be used for environmental reclamation.
CO2 Solution develops processes to capture CO2 from power plants and other large standing emitters.
Its technology uses a biocatalyst enzyme as an industrial lung within a reactor to capture CO2 from exhaust gases and produce pure CO2 for underground storage or use in oil recovery.
The company recently received $250,000 from the Canadian government to validate the technology, which has already been successful on a prototype scale at Alcoa’s Quebec aluminum smelting plant and incinerator.
Jonathan Carley, CO2 Solution vice-president of business operations, says this new pilot will be taking that technology a step further.
“Our initial work with Alcoa involved CO2 capture but in a standalone sense, because we didn’t convert the CO2 into anything,” he says.
“But in the case the case of aluminum, what’s interesting is that you have both this bauxite residue, and a stream of CO2, which can be combined to create a beneficial product.”
He said the initial pilot phase runs through to the end of this year. If successful, the project will continue for another two and a half years.