By Rodney Schmidt – Vice President, Corporate Development, Blue Planet Systems Corp & CEO, Blue Planet Technologies Canada Ltd.
The planet is dealing daily with the increasingly costly effects of climate change, spurred by the volumes of CO2 entering the atmosphere annually. For decades energy industry stakeholders have pursued technologies to reduce these emissions, including investing in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to capture and sequester carbon in underground reservoirs, as well as others to improve efficiency in energy usage.
While these efforts have made some progress, solutions for capturing and sequestering significant carbon volumes have included a sizeable financial burden for companies, governments, and/or consumers. Equally, the improvement in this area so far has not kept up with the need for solutions that can materially reduce the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere annually.
With carbon emissions, a primary concern in energy production, oil & gas companies, power generators, and other large infrastructure companies are recognizing that Blue Planet’s technology holds the potential for material CO2 capture and storage while generating positive economics. Chevron Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Knife River Corporation, Calpine Corporation, and Kamine Development Corporation have already engaged with Blue Planet as investor partners to deploy the technology on a global basis.
Where to permanently store captured CO2 to start making a material difference in the atmosphere?
In recent years, efforts have accelerated to find new ways to capture carbon from the earth’s atmosphere; direct air capture (DAC), for example; and equally to generate new solutions to store carbon. Technologies that address the “utilization and storage” aspect of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) have been gaining momentum and visibility. Specifically, technological solutions for where carbon can be stashed permanently are garnering increasing attention.
To address the issue of utilization and permanent storage and to progress on solving the carbon capture materiality problem facing the planet; Blue Planet has developed a technology that converts captured carbon into manufactured limestone aggregates for usage in concrete.
One of the largest markets on the planet is the global market for aggregates in concrete. Aggregates make up anywhere from 60-75% of a unit of concrete. Overall aggregates volume requirements are roughly 55 gigatons per annum, and almost 70% percent of this is for concrete applications.
Not only is the aggregates market of significant scale, but it is also a “non-depletable reservoir” for carbon storage. The ongoing demand for aggregates follows the demand for concrete to satisfy economic development, urbanization, and population growth. On top of demand growth, many countries are also facing the need to replace aging infrastructure. Blue Planet’s technology capitalizes on this demand for concrete – and the annually carbon storage reservoir that concrete represents. Notably, by utilizing captured CO2 to manufacture aggregates. Thus, Blue Planet can permanently store these aggregates in concrete.
Another essential feature of Blue Planet technology is that it enables flipping the economic paradigm. For instance, from focusing on capturing and storing carbon for the minor unit cost to how to do so for a profit. In Blue Planet’s business model, CO2 is one of the critical material inputs to creating its aggregates; where CO2 accounts for as much as 42% of the mass per unit of the finished product. The technology does this while eliminating the costly step of CO2 purification. Once produced, Blue Planet aggregates can be sold into traditional aggregate markets on a competitive basis. In short, Blue Planet’s technology can help in the context of a stand-alone business based on the sale of aggregate; also, focused on maximizing profit from those sales, rather than minimizing the negative financial impact of storing CO2.
Why energy and infrastructure players should participate?
For years the energy sector has been seeking an economic solution for capturing and permanently storing CO2 emissions. So far, most of the technologies deployed at scale, such as underground injection in depleted reservoirs, require significant upfront investment. This, with negative financial returns and additional investment for continuous monitoring of the injected CO2. Even in cases where CCS projects have proven successful, questions remain on whether all of the initially injected CO2 will remain permanently sequestered.
Thus, Blue Planet’s technology provides energy companies throughout the value chain the potential to profitably capture. Also, to permanently store material volumes of CO2 emissions. So, CO2 capture; whether point source or via direct air capture; at energy production facilities like refineries, LNG terminals, midstream, and upstream operations, gas- and coal-fired power generation, and emerging operations such as blue hydrogen production, are potentially suitable opportunities for its application. Furthermore, it is an emissions solution for other heavy industry including cement, steel, and aluminum. All are opportunities for this technology to scale carbon capture globally and improve atmospheric carbon reduction goals.