Recovery Act: Skymine Beneficial CO2 Use Project


Skyonic Corporation
Award Number:  FE0002586
Project Duration:  01/15/2010 – 06/30/2015
Total Award Value:  $39,648,836.00
DOE Share:  $28,000,000.00
Performer Share:  $11,648,836.00
Technology Area: 
Key Technology: 

Project Description

Skyonic will plan, construct, and operate a large pilot scale demonstration of the SkyMine® plant that uses CO2 captured from an industrial waste stream to produce industrial chemicals via a process that requires less energy than that currently used by industry. The SkyMine® plant will harvest flue gas from a cement manufacturing plant and convert the CO2, through co-generation of bicarbonate materials, to useful products such as additives for algae/biomass industries. This process also removes most of the sulfur oxides, nitric oxides, mercury and other heavy metals from the flue gas. The project builds upon the technology that has been developed and evaluated by Skyonic in laboratory facilities and through chemical process systems modeling and analyses.

During Phase 1, completed in September 2010, the project team produced a complete preliminary design, schedule, and budget for building the pilot plant. Project tasks included process modeling; determining and confirming optimal conditions with laboratory scale testing; performing process and facility design including CO2 life cycle analysis; developing a permitting strategy and providing environmental documentation; and completing preliminary and detailed designs including civil, building, mechanical, and electrical facility drawings and specifications.

During Phase 2, the project team will complete detailed design and construction for a pilot-scale beneficial CO2 use concept that utilizes a slip-stream of flue gas from an industrial cement manufacturing plant. The team will implement a testing and process optimization effort to collect technical and cost data for the process, and will update the overall process techno-economic analysis and CO2 life cycle study based on data collected during testing. Phase 2 will be completed in January 2015.

Project Benefits

Concerns over global climate changes due to increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) have resulted in the Department of Energy (DOE) placing a strong emphasis on research and development for recovering and sequestering CO2 for high-efficiency coal-based energy systems and other CO2-producing industrial processes. One application of these systems and processes is to generate beneficial products from the capture and separation of CO2 produced as a by-product of industrial manufacturing and energy production plants. The Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected Skyonic Corporation (Skyonic) to develop a method to produce industrial chemicals by mineralization of CO2 captured from fossil fuel combustion flue gas. The beneficial use of CO2 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption and support economic growth.

Successful commercialization of Skyonic’s SkyMine® process will reduce the national CO2 footprint by directly reducing flue gas CO2 emissions and by using lower carbon emission processes during the production of industrial chemicals. A SkyMine® plant can be retrofitted to stationary emitters to remove CO2 from the exhaust stream and transform it into solids instead of a gas. Solid carbonates and bicarbonates can be sold to market, and are also technically suitable for long-term, safe storage as minefill or landfill. An additional benefit of the SkyMine® process is the removal of most of the sulfur oxides, nitric oxides, and mercury and heavy metals from the flue gas.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of this project is to demonstrate a less carbon-intensive means of producing valuable chemicals that can be sold to existing markets at a profit. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of constructing and operating a facility to remove CO2 from industrial flue gas waste streams through co-generation of mineralized sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. The pilot-scale facility will generate technical and economic data needed to assess the potential of the process to meet programmatic goals of a net reduction of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere as well as to validate the capture efficiency of the process for removing sulfur oxides, nitric oxides, and mercury from plant emissions.

The pilot plant will be designed to harvest CO2 from a portion of flue gas from an operating cement factory and convert it into a mineralized form. The main objective of the project is to evaluate the plant’s capability to produce mineralized products through conversion of captured CO2 while operating at energy efficient conditions. The plant will thereby reduce CO2 emissions in two ways: by direct mineralization of the otherwise emitted flue gas, and by using a production process that produces less CO2 than conventional approaches.

Specific research and development objectives of the project include further individual component testing to finalize the design of the pilot scale reaction column, the membrane filtration unit, the decanter system, and carbon filtration beds; completing the detailed design of the pilot-scale facility; implementing the permitting plan; constructing and commissioning the pilot plant facility; and testing the facility and specific sub-process modules. The project team will measure and optimize the performance of the pilot plant process operations in order to improve overall process efficiencies. Other specific objectives include performing a techno-economic analysis and a CO2 life cycle analysis of the Skyonic process using the optimized operating results of the pilot plant.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Vito Cedro:
Technology Manager 
Michael Knaggs:
Principal Investigator 

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