Carbon-capture firm wins grant
Skyonic’s $25 million award to go toward plant for converting carbon dioxide to baking soda
An Austin company that plans to build an industrial carbon capture plant in San Antonio has won a $25 million grant from the Department of Energy.
Skyonic Corp. received the largest of six grants, part of the federal economic stimulus program, that the department announced Thursday. All of the recipient companies are working on projects that convert industrial carbon dioxide emissions into products such as fuel, plastics and fertilizers, according to the Energy Department.
Skyonic’s San Antonio plant will convert carbon dioxide into baking soda and other chemicals that can be resold, said Jack Lynch, the company’s chief financial officer.
“We’re obviously really excited and grateful for the support,” he said of the grant.
In all, $106 million was allocated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is being matched with $156 million from the private sector.
“These innovative projects convert carbon pollution from a climate threat to an economic resource,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. “This is part of our broad commitment to unleash the American innovation machine and build the thriving, clean energy economy of the future.”
The grant — the second of its kind that Skyonic has received — will help fund the company’s Capitol-Sky-mine project at the Capitol Aggregates Ltd. cement plant in San Antonio. Earlier this year, Skyonic received $3 million from the Department of Energy toward the same project.
Company officials say the plant is targeted to capture 75,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the flue gas emitted by the cement plant. It will also offset an additional 200,000 metric
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Construction on the plant should begin later this year, and it should be fully operational by 2012, Lynch said. In all, the total cost will be in the $100 million range, he said.
The rest of the money for the Capitol-Skymine plant will be provided by private investors, he said, without naming specific parties.
Skyonic plans to operate at a profit through the sale of byproducts and generate more than 200 jobs in Texas, company officials have said.
The company was founded in 2005 and has been supported largely by California investor Carl Berg. Berg also is founder of and a major investor in Valence Technology Inc., an Austin-based maker of rechargeable lithiumion batteries.
Skyonic recently received a patent relating to its process to capture and mineralize carbon.
Lynch said his company is “gratified by the vetting of our technology” by the Department of Energy. “I think it speaks volumes.”