First commercial-scale CO2 capture operation set for Capitol Aggregates mill

Construction at Capitol Aggregates’ cement mill outside San Antonio, Texas, is nearing on a facility to capture 83,000 tons of carbon dioxide and offset an additional 220,000 tons of the gas annually once the equipment is operational in 2014. Austin, Texas-based Skyonic Corp.’s electrolytic carbon capture technology, SkyMine, will selectively remove CO2, acid gases and heavy metals emitted from the cement plant’s flue gas streams and recycle it into hydrochloric acid, sodium bicarbonate and other byproducts. Skyonic estimates the Capitol Aggregates installation will capture CO2 at a substantially lower cost than competitive technologies.

The San Antonio mill has successfully tested pilot SkyMine technology since Skyonic landed a 2010 Department of Energy grant. The commercial scale facility is proceeding after the company finalized its latest round of funding earlier this summer. New funding participants Northwater Capital Management, ConocoPhillips, BP, and PVS Chemicals are joining existing Skyonic investors Carl Berg and Zachry Corporation, Capitol Aggregates parent. The funds will be used to support construction costs for the SkyMine groundbreaking by summer’s end, advancement of a global portfolio of green carbon chemistry solutions, plus other research & development and operations goals.

SkyMine is a carbonate mineralization technology that produces beneficial re-use products in a safe, efficient and profitable manner, Skyonic officials contend. The process uses low-cost chemical inputs, producing high-value chemical outputs and operation at energy-efficient conditions. Two years ago, Skyonic received a $25 million DOE grant to develop its technology, seen as a replacement for existing scrubber systems. Skyonic, as well as five other companies, received DOE grants for “projects converts carbon pollution from a climate threat to an economic resource,” said Secretary Steven Chu.

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