From: Thomas Schueneman , Global Warming is Real, More from this Affiliate
Published March 25, 2010 09:20 AM

From CO2 to Cement: Recycling Carbon — the Commoditization of Carbon Emissions

Yesterday we posted on the just-released Clean Edge trends report for 2010 that outlines some of the prominent trends in clean tech and renewable energy. One emerging trend mentioned in the report is the commoditization of carbon, where captured emissions are bought and sold as feedstock for other industrial processes.

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The idea isn't new, companies like Mantra Energy have been hard at work for years refining a process known as Electroreduction of Carbon Dioxide or ERC, and CO2 emissions are used for well-head injection to help keep aging oil wells in production. But the concept of using CO2 emissions as a marketable product instead of simply a waste gas is growing as innovators find new methods for utilizing carbon emissions. As we learned last year when I had the opportunity to visit Schwarze Pumpe, the pilot carbon capture and sequestration project in Germany, capturing CO2 is one thing, what to do with the carbon after it is captured is another — and perhaps the greatest challenge in the equation.

From coal plant emission to cement

Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal company, has announced it will invest $15 million for an equity interest in Calera Corporation. Calera has developed a process called Mineralization vis Aqueous Precipitation (or, thankfully, MAP, for short), that takes in carbon emissions and other waste gasses, and outputs "building materials and water that meet or exceed industry performance standards."

Calera's emerging technology represents an innovative solution to advance our energy, environmental and economic goals by recycling carbon dioxide into beneficial building products," said Peabody Senior Vice President Fred Palmer in a statement.

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