“Don’t ever do that,” said Kathi Fischer, the chief science officer and co-founder at CleanO2, who helped Cardiff avoid catastrophe and also contributed in finding the right mix of chemicals for the company’s small-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) device that now, years and multiple iterations later, is called CARBiNX.
Fortis Inc. subsidiary FortisBC, for example, paid the cost of installing multiple CARBiNX units for commercial customers in the Vancouver area that were interested in reducing emissions but were concerned about the high costs of ripping out existing utility infrastructure, said Jason Wolfe, the company’s director of energy solutions.
Carbon capture and storage was once seen by governments as the “panacea” for reducing CO2 emissions and mitigating climate change without massively disrupting existing infrastructure and industries, said University of Calgary School of Public Policy executive fellow Eddy Isaacs, who is also a former CEO of Alberta Innovates.
A number of small-scale CCS projects have cropped up in Canada in recent years including Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based CarbonCure Technologies, which injects recycled CO2 into concrete, and Squamish, British Columbia-based Carbon Engineering that has developed a system that sucks CO2 directly out of the air.
At CleanO2, Cardiff said each CARBiNX device is capable of reducing 6 to 8 tonnes of carbon emissions per year, which may seem small on its own but can be meaningful in aggregate.
Dawn-Marie Barreira, sustainable energy management specialist at Lush Cosmetics, says her company uses significantly more carbonate than a CleanO2 unit can produce in a year, so the device hasn’t noticeably offset soap input costs at Lush.
CleanO2 also has commercial agreements with Calgary-based apothecary All Things Jill and Edmonton-based cleaning products company Ostrem Chemical Co. Ltd. to make soap out of the potassium carbonate.