Capital Power, North American power producer headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, has acquired an equity interest in C2CNT, a company that has developed and is now applying at scale an innovative technology that captures and transforms carbon dioxide (CO2) into a useful and high-value product called carbon nanotubes.
This technology will take CO2 from many sources, including emissions from thermal power generation and other industrial processes, and convert it into a carbon-based product that can be used in various industries. Carbon nanotubes are conductive, stronger than steel, lighter than aluminium and have been used in bullet-proof and taser-proof suits, towards carbon composites in jet airliners, and as a lighter-weight alternative to metals for use in industrial structural materials.
Dr. Stuart Licht, head of the C2CNT team and professor of chemistry at George Washington University, said, “C2CNT is focused on a revolutionary solution to climate change – one that is ground-breaking, innovative and potentially disruptive.”
He continued, “We’ve found a way to transform CO2 into a valuable product, worth on the order of a quarter-million dollars per ton, at low cost while reducing CO2 in our atmosphere. That’s earth changing.”
Brian Vaasjo, Capital Power President and CEO, said, “Our investment in C2CNT supports our pursuit of innovative and leading-edge technology and approaches that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases. Being able to take CO2 and convert it into a valuable carbon-fibre product could dramatically change our industry and other industries as well.”
“Innovation is critical and finding ways to capture and productively use carbon can potentially be the key to meeting climate change targets,” Vaasjo added.
The C2CNT technology was developed by a team of scientists, led by Professor Stuart Licht, at George Washington University. The technology uses electrolysis, with a current generated by electrodes to separate the carbon from the oxygen (O2), repurposes the carbon into a strong, useable carbon fibre (nanotube), and O2 that is available for other uses.
Dr. Licht and his team are among five finalists competing in the natural gas track of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition. As part of the XPRIZE competition, C2CNT will start testing their technology at demonstration scale at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre located at the Shepard Energy Centre in Calgary that Capital Power co-owns with ENMAX.
C2CNT technology opens the door to new capabilities and opportunities for all industrial processes, including power generation, and provides a positive path forward, which contributes to building our low-carbon world.