Baking Soda for Carbon Sequestration?

Lynne Kiesling

A company called Skyonic is using sodium hydroxide to turn carbon dioxide into baking soda, with chlorine and hydrogen as by-products; the process

captures 90 percent of the carbon dioxide coming out of smoke stacks and mixes it with sodium hydroxide to make sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. The energy required for the reaction to turn the chemicals into baking soda comes from the waste heat from the factory.

“It is cleaner than food-grade (baking soda),” he said.

The system also removes 97 percent of the heavy metals, as well as most of the sulfur and nitrogen compounds, Jones said.

Hmmm … awash in baking soda. This is pretty cool, but don’t we already pretty much do this? We make baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, using the Solvay process developed in the early 19th century, or also this process:

Commercial quantities of baking soda are also produced by this method: soda ash, mined in the form of the ore trona, is dissolved in water and treated with carbon dioxide. Sodium bicarbonate precipitates as a solid from this method:

Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O → 2 NaHCO3

Still, it’s promising. Plus it takes out metals and acid gases, so it can replace the costly scrubbers that power plants now have to install, as mentioned in the article.


7 thoughts on “Baking Soda for Carbon Sequestration?

  1. I think this company has a much brighter future than Blue Source, which was mentioned here earlier.

    Mostly because it doesn’t seem to rely as heavily on public demand for carbon captures. (the only actaully productive thing they did was to pump the carbon dioxide into the ground to bring up more oil, but I couldn’t find any reason why it has to be CO2 and not regular air.)

    This company produces baking soda, and hydrogen, plus could be used instead of scrubers.

  2. quick question – baking soda disolves in water releasing CO2, does this mean constructing water proof containers for the baking soda to hold the CO2?

  3. If you take a close look at that reaction, you’ll see that it produces no free hydrogen. And if you break apart the larger molecule, the hydrogen surely comes back out still bound in a water molecule.

    Think of the hydrogen in a water molecule as being at the bottom of a deep (energy) well. It’s perfectly good hydrogen, but to use it for anything, you’ll have to pull it up out of the well. The energy available in a fuel cell reaction is about the same as the energy that it takes to pull the hydrogen out of the well, and once you’ve used that energy, the hydrogen is at the bottom of the well again (bound with oxygen, in water). If you consider energy losses in this process, it’s a net loser.

  4. Carbon sequestration using amine sponges

    Lynne Kiesling This certainly qualifies for a “how cool is that?”: new research on amine sponges to separate and absorb carbon dioxide from flue gas. The idea is that they make a sponge material customized specifically to absorb carbon dioxide…

  5. Carbon sequestration using amine sponges

    Lynne Kiesling This certainly qualifies for a “how cool is that?”: new research on amine sponges to separate and absorb carbon dioxide from flue gas. The idea is that they make a sponge material customized specifically to absorb carbon dioxide…

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