Coal-fired power plant in India makes baking soda out of carbon dioxide

A fertilizer manufacturing company from the southern Indian city of Tuticorin has begun capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from its coal-powered plant and using it to make baking soda.

System uses a new proprietary solvent that is reportedly slightly more efficient than those used conventionally, requiring less energy and smaller equipment.

The ground-breaking method, developed by Carbon Clean Solutions and believed to be a world first, involves capturing CO2 and other pollutants from coal and feeding it into a mixing chamber with salt and ammonia, creating baking soda in the process.

The proprietary solvent used, The Guardian reports, is just slightly more efficient than those used conventionally, requiring less energy and smaller equipment.

The company claims that as much as 66,000 tonnes of the gas could be captured at the plant each year and says the marginal gain in efficiency is just enough to make it feasible to run the plant without a subsidy.

Carbon capture schemes are nothing new, but until now most efforts have focused on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, rather than on carbon capture and utilization (CCU), which is what the Tuticorin plant is doing now.