Feature: Chemical Engineering
Large electrical generating plants, like the one pictured above, are major emitters of greenhouse gases, but governments across Canada are adopting regulations or imposing carbon taxes in order to reduce such emissions.
Quebec’s CO Solutions uses carbonic anhydrase to create an enzyme that works in a smokestack to remove carbon dioxide. This low-cost capture solution is key to meeting climate change legislation in Canada.
By D’Arcy Jenish
Thanks to an enzyme known as carbonic anhydrase, the human body is marvelously adapted to capture and release the carbon dioxide that is a natural byproduct of respiration, digestion and other physiological processes. And thanks to the efforts of Quebec City-based COSolutions, carbonic anhydrase may soon be performing its magic on a grander scale and for the betterment of the planet. For the past 15 years, the company has been attempting to develop bio-technological platforms that would use the enzyme along with a variety of solvents to remove carbon dioxide — the primary gas responsible for global climate change — from industrial smokestacks. “Everyone is looking for the cheapest and most effective way to capture CO ,” says company president Glenn Kelly. “We think we’re at the forefront of that effort.”
Indeed, COSolutions hopes to have industrial-scale applications installed and operating as soon as 2015 and it is under considerable pressure to get to market. For one thing, others are forging ahead with competing technologies. As well, governments in jurisdictions around the world are drafting regulations or imposing financial penalties on the big industrial emitters in order to curb the production of greenhouse gases. ...
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