In the southern Indian city of Tuticorin, locals are unlikely to suffer from a poorly risen cake. That’s because a coal-fired thermal power station in the area captures carbon dioxide and turns it into baking soda.
This is elementary chemistry: you can combine sodium hydroxide with carbon dioxide and end up with baking soda and water.
Like most carbon-capture schemes, this one involves a proprietary solvent. Unlike most carbon-capture schemes, this one comes close to being cost-effective:
The Guardian reports that a system installed in the Tuticorin plant uses a new proprietary solvent developed by the company Carbon Clean Solutions. The solvent is reportedly just slightly more efficient than those used conventionally, requiring a little less energy and smaller apparatus to run. The collected CO2 is used to create baking soda, and it claims that as much as 66,000 tons of the gas could be captured at the plant each year.
Its operators say that the marginal gain in efficiency is just enough to make it feasible to run the plant without a subsidy.
Inveterate coal-haters will hate this too, but perhaps not as much. And as Dave Schuler notes:
I expect that we’ll see a lot more solutions like this coming out of India. They have a lot of clever, educated people, probably as many engineers per 100,000 population as anywhere in the world and they don’t have a lot of money to mess around with diseconomic schemes.
I wonder if I should send this to Scott Pruitt.