Sources: Blue Planet Systems Corp., Los Gatos, Calif.; CP staff
A $10 million funding round positions Blue Planet to advance a carbon capture and utilization system netting concrete-grade synthetic limestone. The Silicon Valley company is approaching commercialization of a process that converts diluted carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-powered electricity generating stations, cement or steel mills, and petroleum refineries to carbonate for mineralization into calcium carbonate (CaCO3).
With annual sequestration potential exceeding 50 gigatons, the construction aggregates market represents one of the largest potential CO2 sinks, Blue Planet officials contend—making their solution to curbing global carbon levels scalable and economically viable. The synthetic limestone more than compensates for the carbon footprint that concrete exhibits due to portland cement, production of which is among the most widely cited industrial sources of CO2 emissions. The Blue Planet process also creates upcycled concrete aggregate as a by-product, reducing the need to mine limestone reserves.
Carbon capture methods typically require an energy-intensive CO2 purification step for liquification, transport and injection. Blue Planet directly converts CO2 diluted in flue gas to carbonate, avoiding what system developers note are the significant costs and parasitic loads of purifying the greenhouse gas from a dilute stream in order to liquify it for underground disposal. Instead, the synthetic limestone is ready for delivery to concrete plants and use in structures where the CO2 is stored permanently. Synthetic aggregate production and market prospects make Blue Planet process operations profitable; plants can be underwritten, owned and operated under well-established project financing structures without subsidies.
The company’s first commercial plant is being constructed in Pittsburg, Calif., adjacent to a natural gas-fired power plant and the Sacramento Delta, affording barged material transport options and economy. Early Blue Planet aggregate concrete applications have included pavement at San Francisco International Airport Terminal 1.