CO2 Solutions joins EERC’s carbon capture program

Its enzyme technology will be tested for use in power and steam generation plants.

QUEBEC CITY — CO2 Solutions has signed an agreement with the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) to join its carbon capture program as a sponsor.

Under the Advancing CO2 Capture Technology: Partnership for CO2 Capture Phase III program, CO2 Solutions will test its enzyme carbon capture technology in December at EERC’s facility using natural gas and coal flue gas.

The program is evaluating several carbon capture technologies that are among the most advanced systems under development, for use at power and steam generation plants.

The Quebec City based company has developed a process that captures CO2 using the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. It’s found in living organisms and manages carbon dioxide during respiration.

The technology is being positioned as a lower cost way to capture and use the carbon dioxide in other applications such as helping plants grow faster in greenhouses, aiding PH regulation in the pulp and paper industry, and providing carbonation for bottling plants. But it could also be useful to heavy oil extraction, pumping the recovered CO2 into aging wells.

CO2 Solutions says data collected from the EERC tests, which will have approximately twice the capacity of its largest testing to date, will provide valuable input for the Husky Energy enhanced heavy oil pilot initiative in 2015, plus performance benchmarking of its enzyme-accelerated process against other solvent-based processes.

“We expect the program will benefit our US market entry, particularly for commercial applications such as enhanced oil recovery, through the exposure of our technology to the program’s prominent industry participants,” said Evan Price, president and CEO of CO2 Solutions.

He says the EERC program also offers a flexible platform that allows for the testing of different equipment configurations, part of CO2 Solutions’ strategy to deliver lower operating and capital costs than other carbon capture solutions.

The US Department of Energy provides part of the program’s funding.

CO2 Solutions is realigning its testing program as it prepares for commercial opportunities in North America for its enzyme-enabled carbon capture technology.

It has ended its association with Neumann Systems Group, a designer and builder of emissions control systems for power plants and other industrial applications that’s based in Colorado Springs, Co., saying in a press release that the collaboration is “no longer in its best interests.”

The companies announced in July they were accelerating preparations for a pilot facility in Colorado Springs that would capture approximately 10 tonnes of CO2 per day. Start-up was originally set for April 2015, but it was moved ahead to October.

“We are now focusing our attention and resources on alternative collaborations to meet our objective of offering a low-cost, next-generation commercial CO2 capture system for applications such as enhanced oil recovery,” said Price.

Thom Skinner, CFO of CO2 Solutions, said the two companies are parting amicably, citing the EERC program as one such alternative collaboration.

“The EERC is a primary testing ground for CO2 capture in the US. This provides significant credibility and an introduction to a [variety] of prominent players in the CO2 capture and reuse market. North Dakota is also a prime market for CO2 applied to enhanced oil recovery (EOR). We have limited resources and we have to pick our spots carefully,” said Skinner. “The opportunity to test at EERC was one we didn’t want to pass up.”

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