Enzymes make carbon capture cleaner and smarter

Enzymes make carbon capture cleaner and smarter

Replace the chemicals traditionally used for post-combustion carbon capture with biological enzymes. Enzymatic carbon capture can make your process more affordable, sustainable and convenient.

Is your business a candidate to benefit?

Better for business and the planet

Better for business and the planet

“Convenient” isn’t a word typically associated with carbon capture. But enzymatic carbon capture is far more convenient than traditional post-combustion processes. With the potential for being more affordable and sustainable too.

For example, you can use low-quality waste heat – no need to install or maintain a boiler to produce energy-intensive steam for stripping. And you don’t need a special wastewater treatment system. That’s because, unlike the traditional approach, enzymatic carbon capture produces no harmful waste products. You don’t need to purify the flue gas upfront either. The process is also more reliable, thanks to less corrosion.

It’s the cleanest, smartest way to capture carbon yet.

 

Carbon capture is crucial

The global scientific community agrees: the planet cannot avoid being impacted by climate change. But we can counteract the severity of it – if we act immediately.

Carbon capture technology is crucial to reduce industrial emissions even after renewable energy alternatives are widely adopted. “Reaching net-zero will be virtually impossible without carbon capture, utilization and storage,” says the autonomous International Energy Agency. What’s more, the world must become carbon negative in the latter half of this century, reports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Carbon capture can achieve an estimated 14% of the global greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed by 2050, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. It’s also considered the only practical way to achieve deep decarbonization in the industrial sector.

 

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Using nature’s own CO2 regulator in industry

The enzymatic carbon capture process uses the biological enzyme carbonic anhydrase instead of conventional chemicals to extract CO2 from the flue gas. The traditional method creates degradation products that can harm people and the environment.

Carbonic anhydrase is active in the human lung and in all living creatures every time an organism breathes. It can convert HCO3- (bicarbonate) into CO2 just as effectively as it can convert CO2 into HCO3-. One of nature’s fastest-working enzymes, carbonic anhydrase reacts 1 million times per second.

 

Conventional vs. enzymatic carbon capture

Conventional

Enzymatic

Requires costly, energy-consuming high temperatures (120°C)
Requires 80°C heat, which can come from waste heat
Costs vary significantly
Cheaper or on par with the conventional process
Uses chemicals that leave toxic degradation products
Uses biological enzymes (carbonic anhydrase) and leaves no toxic degradation products
Requires special wastewater treatment systems
Does not require special wastewater treatment
Corrodes expensive steel equipment
Does not corrode equipment – increases process reliability and enables use of less expensive steel or plastic equipment
Requires upfront purification of flue gas
No upfront purification of flue gas required
Captures ~90% of the CO2 in the flue gas
Captures ~90% of the CO2 in the flue gas
Yields 99.95% pure CO2
Yields ≥ 99.95% pure CO2

Affordable carbon capture

Affordable carbon capture

The stripping step in the enzymatic carbon capture process requires thermal energy at 80°C; traditional carbon capture requires 120°C. According to a study by SINTEF, one of Europe’s largest independent research organizations, using waste heat from a cement plant, for example, can save at least 25% of carbon capture and liquefaction costs

What’s more, unlike conventional solvents, enzymes are not corrosive. This increases process reliability and means you can use less expensive steel or plastic equipment. Because enzymes tolerate flue gas contaminants, you don’t have the expense of gas pre-treatment either.

Sustainable carbon capture

Sustainable carbon capture

The enzymatic carbon capture process produces no toxic waste, aerosols or contaminants. Requiring less energy than the conventional process, it is based on nature’s own technique for CO2 regulation. Traditional solvents used for carbon capture are produced from the hazardous chemicals ethylene oxide and ammonia.

Carbon capture that uses only traditional chemicals and energy-intensive processes strains Earth’s resources. Enzymatic carbon capture protects them.

Find out how much your business can benefit

Find out how much your business can benefit

Does your plant have the optimal conditions to benefit? If you have waste heat available, your opportunities to save money with the enzymatic process are the greatest. If not, costs could be on par with the traditional process. The non-toxic enzymatic process better protects the local environment.
 
Contact us, and we’ll let you know whether you’re likely to benefit most from enzymatic carbon capture or the traditional process. Of course we’d like your business – but our main concern is capturing as much carbon as possible. Before it’s too late.

Captured carbon has many uses

What happens to the carbon that is captured? While most in the near future will be safely stored underground in geologic storage facilities, productive new opportunities are constantly emerging. Carbon capture can also be a source of revenue.

For example, captured carbon is being used to:

  • Manufacture building materials
  • Produce fertilizer with less environmental impact
  • Carbonate beer and soft drinks
  • Enrich greenhouses
  • Support Power-to-X solutions
  • Produce methanol

See how efficiently Novozymes enzymes capture carbon

As you can see in this Novozymes lab demonstration, carbonic anhydrase captures millions of carbon dioxide molecules every second and turns them into carbonate. The enzyme increases the speed of the reaction and ensures that the captured CO2 does not leave the solution until it is heated. The indicator used in the demo is bromothymol blue.

Learn more about enzymatic carbon capture

Interested in hearing more about the cleanest, smartest way to capture carbon?

Our experts are happy to answer your questions.

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