Expansion Energy’s patented “VCCSTM Cycle” technology addresses multiple market opportunities and environmental needs, including:
Capturing CO2 emissions from power plants or other CO2-emitting plants and permanently sequestering them through “mineralization”
Processing coal ash waste (and other forms of fly ash waste or alkaline industrial wastes) such that potentially harmful and/or economically valuable components can be safely removed
“Harvesting” valuable minerals (such as rare earth elements, uranium, germanium, nickel, etc.) or other materials from coal ash or other alkaline industrial wastes
Producing safe, environmentally benign bulk materials (such as “artificial limestone”) for numerous industrial, construction and agricultural applications
The VCCS Cycle can be used to capture and sequester CO2 from virtually any existing or new CO2-emitting source, including, but not limited to, coal-fired power plants, gas-fired power plants, biomass-fired power plants, municipal solid waste incinerators, industrial boilers, refineries, cement-making plants and other manufacturing/processing plants. Moreover, VCCS deployments can be designed for almost any scale.
The VCCS Cycle neutralizes CO2 (an “acid” on the pH scale) by combining it with an alkali (a “base” on the pH scale), such as coal ash or other alkaline industrial wastes, to form a solid mineral material (i.e., mineralization). VCCS uses processes and inputs that achieve final products which are dry (not sticky or cementitious), flowable and easy to handle, store and transport.
Importantly, VCCS permanently sequesters CO2—i.e., there is no chance for the CO2 to later escape into the atmosphere, which is a weakness of other carbon capture technologies, such as those which create supercritical CO2 that is pumped underground. Instead, VCCS’s outputs are marketable products that require no underground sequestration.
Adding to its positive environmental attributes, in many instances, a substantial portion of the energy required to run the VCCS Cycle can come from the recovery of waste heat from the existing power plant (or other type of thermal plant) that produces the CO2 and, to a certain extent, from the heat produced by the chemical reaction of the VCCS Cycle process itself. Thus, unlike other carbon capture technologies, VCCS is only a minimal “parasitic load.”
For its alkaline input material, the VCCS Cycle can utilize/process any calcium-oxide-containing ashes, which includes nearly all types of ashes from coal, biomass or waste combustion. Instead of using fly ash or bottom ash, the VCCS Cycle can also utilize other alkaline industrial waste materials such as caustic “red mud” (bauxite residue)—a waste byproduct of the aluminum-making process—or alkaline byproducts resulting from agricultural and food processing operations.
VCCS plants utilize primarily basic process equipment which is in abundant supply at low capital cost and does not require long lead times—e.g., reaction vessels, blending equipment and augers, basic PLCs, standard piping, etc. No “exotic” equipment or materials are required.
In addition to its applications for carbon capture & sequestration and for processing fly ash or other alkaline industrial wastes, VCCS can also be used as a clean-up process for the feed gases utilized by natural gas processing plants, LNG liquefaction plants, anaerobic digester gas (ADG) facilities, landfill gas (LFG) facilities, and plants that produce industrial gases. VCCS can remove large concentrations of CO2 and water from feed gases, and it is therefore especially valuable for feed gases that are particularly “dirty,” such as untreated field gas (e.g., at wellheads), ADG and LFG, and where traditional clean-up systems such as molecular sieves or membrane systems may be too expensive or not robust enough to handle high levels of impurities.
The VCCS Cycle technology is patented in the United States (Patents No. RE 45,309; 8,252,242 and 8,501,125), Japan (Patent No. 4880098), Canada (Patent No. 2,739,743 and and 2,836,239) and Australia (Patent No. 2009302737 and 2012256278), China (200980149295.6) and is patent-pending in other international regions.
The VCCS technology is available for license from Expansion Energy to qualified end-users, energy/environmental systems manufacturers, and EPCs.
Expansion Energy is also seeking alliances and/or demonstration opportunities with companies that may have a strategic interest in the VCCS technology.
Interested parties are invited to contact us for further information.