Environmental Protection

Alcoa Teams with Codex, CO2 Solutions on Carbon Capture

A pilot program will test the ability of proprietary enzyme technologies to reduce the environmental impact of industrial byproducts.

Alcoa announced a new pilot program, in collaboration with Codexis, Inc. and CO2 Solution Inc., focused on carbon capture technology designed to sequester industrial carbon emissions, neutralizing the material to create a commercially viable product.

The project will be funded by Alcoa along with approximately $13.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) received from an award with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). This funding was made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The pilot program, part of Alcoa's ongoing commitment to enhance its operational sustainability, will use an innovative and proprietary in-duct scrubber technology to capture emissions. The collaboration is intended to devise solutions that treat and utilize a primary byproduct of the aluminum manufacturing process known as alkaline clay, or bauxite residue, as well as other alkaline industrial residuals. This pilot project will test a scrubbing process that combines treated flue gas, enzymes, and alkaline clay to create a mineral-rich neutralized product that could be used for environmental reclamation projects.

"Our mission at Alcoa is to create a more sustainable world through innovative solutions and responsible operations," said Kevin Anton, Alcoa's chief sustainability fficer. "Finding ways to turn industrial waste into beneficial products will create a more sustainable society for generations to come. We are committed to this project and partnership because it epitomizes our belief that sustainable technologies are fundamental for the maintenance of vital resources and, therefore, for our business."

Scientists and engineers from Alcoa Technical Center in Pittsburgh will lead the three-year project, which has an investigation phase that runs through December. Upon successful completion of this phase, the project will proceed to the pilot testing phase. The DOE grant was received as part of an initiative to find ways of converting captured carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources into useful products such as fuels, plastics, cement and fertilizers.

"We are very pleased to be expanding deployment of our carbon capture technology with Alcoa," said Alan Shaw, Codexis president and CEO. "We recently reported significant progress in our first program to reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. With this agreement, we are expanding to a second large market where our technology can add real economic value, and where it may convert industrial waste to new, valuable products."

Codexis and CO2 Solution have been collaborating since late 2009 on the development of custom carbonic anhydrase (CA) enzymes and processes that could significantly decrease the cost of carbon dioxide capture from industrial sources. CA is an enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of carbon dioxide in nature, and program results to date show that the technology can be used to create and deploy CA biocatalysts with substantially improved stability and performance under industrial conditions.

Source: Alcoa

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