Carbon Dioxide Technology
Natural chemical processes in the world’s oceans inspire the Calera's technology. For millennia these processes have helped to balance the world’s carbon cycle and created massive formations of carbonate deposits, such as the white cliffs of Dover.
Ocean chemistry involves the gradual absorption and mineralization of carbon. Over geologic time, vast amounts of CO2 are naturally absorbed into the oceans and converted into stable minerals, such as limestone. Calera’s technology is based on these processes, and enhances them. In brief, Calera’s technology focuses on two goals:
- Speed. Increasing the speed and scale of gas absorption into solution and then increasing the speed and scale of conversion into minerals so that large volumes of gas can be continuously captured and
- Products. Developing end products that are potentially useful, such as cement and mineral carbonates, and green chemicals.
Because Calera’s chemistry involves several steps, with each step requiring additional materials and each resulting in a different end product, Calera’s technology is flexible, and has the potential to support a variety of projects and solutions. Among other goals, the technology may be used to capture and store CO2 in end products with beneficial commercial uses such as bicarbonate or cement.
Both the conversion of CO2 into bicarbonate, and the subsequent conversion of bicarbonate to carbonate occur more rapidly in solutions with high pH. As the maintenance of a high pH environment is important to Calera’s process, and large volumes of alkalinity are required to support the technology at scale, the availability of alkalinity sources, such as sodium hydroxide, is currently a significant consideration in evaluating projects.
The company is developing proprietary technology that is expected to substantially reduce the cost to produce sodium hydroxide. But in the near-term the possibility of abundant and relatively low-cost sodium hydroxide are significant considerations in the selection of projects and could provide considerable economic advantages at select locations.
Additionally, if the desired end product of the company’s process is cement, the process requires large volumes of divalent calcium cations, most readily available from materials such as “hard” water sources containing calcium or by using solid calcium materials such as calcium chloride.
Calera’s technology may be suitable for a variety of facilities, including both retrofits and new plants. We have successfully retrofitted our technology at the demonstration level to an existing gas power plant in Moss Landing, California.