A new technique that sees carbon dioxide (CO2) and tailings from mining operations converted into materials of a "higher order" for use in a variety of industrial, agricultural, and environmental applications has been developed by a US company. The resulting material has been dubbed as "Green Carbon".
According to a report in ENN (Environmental News Network), Carbon Sciences, founded by CEO Derek McLeish, has developed a relatively simple technology that puts the brew under pressure and temperature to create PCC (precipitated calcium carbonate).
Traditionally, calcium carbonate is produced through an energy-intensive process using expensive materials such as limestone.
The "Green Carbon" technology takes this normally exhaustive process and simplifies it, thus producing a useful, benign material while transforming carbon emissions instead of simply sequestering it.
Carbon neutral operations don't release any additional CO2 into the atmosphere, nor do they reduce CO2 levels either.
When applying Green Carbon technology to a carbon neutral process, say an ethanol plant, that process actually reduces the amount of CO2, thus making it carbon negative.
Not only is Green Carbon a method for removal and transformation (as opposed to storage) of CO2, McLeish contends that the Green Carbon technology can produce PCC at a lower cost than traditional processes and also points out that as carbon credit markets come online, users will automatically realize additional cost reductions when the CO2 consumed in Green Carbon is sold as carbon credits.
From paper to plastic, wallboard to fertilizer, PCC is a common component of many everyday products, materials, and industrial processes.
According to McLeish, there is a 12 billion dollar demand for PCC.
One of McLeish's first major target markets for the Green Carbon technology is the paper industry.
The industrial use of PCC is projected to grow to 10 million tons by 2010. 70% of that PCC will be used in the paper industry for use as a filler and brightener.
With the Green Carbon process, CO2 emissions from a paper mill can be transformed into PCC for immediate use in paper production, offering the producer the potential for both cost savings and carbon neutrality.