Carbon Upcycling Technologies turns to CMCRI for technology testing and validation

SOURCE: Alison Cartier, Communications Consultant

Apoorv Sinha, CEO
Carbon Upcycling Technologies

When the CEO of Carbon Upcycling Technologies wanted a real-world environment to test its novel carbon capture technology, he knew where to go for an objective assessment. CMC Research Institutes’ carbon capture and conversion facility in Vancouver provided many advantages, said Apoorv Sinha, CEO of Carbon Upcycling.

“As a carbon to value company, CUT is evaluating novel technologies to recover CO2 from point source emissions, and then use the gas in our nanomaterial production process. We wanted third-party validation and oversight,” said Sinha. “CMCRI has a well-instrumented facility and we were confident in the organization’s capabilities. The facility is specifically designed for CO2 testing and they were able to move right away on our program.”

Products moving to commercialization

Carbon Upcycling Technologies is a finalist in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE and is focused on creating carbon-based materials. The company, which started in 2014, chemically adsorbs CO2 emissions into inorganic solids, creating a portfolio of fine nanoparticles such as graphitic nanoplatelets and graphene quantum dots. The company has found a range of different applications for these products and is already commercializing a concrete coating and polymer additive in Canada and the U.S.

CUT’s work with CMCRI focused on its long-term goal of developing an integrated CO2 capture and utilization process by testing the efficacy of a polymer membrane for CO2 capture that the company licensed from Ohio State University. “At the time of licensing, the technology was proven at 1,000 hours with simulated flue gas in a lab set up,” said Sinha. “We wanted a plug-and-play set up testing with real flue gas.”

The membrane is exciting because it could eliminate the traditional two-step process of CO2 separation technologies, as it selectively lets only CO2 pass through on a real-time continuous basis.

During the three-month program, CMCRI’s team worked with CUT and:

  • – Developed the testing protocol;
  • – Designed the testing apparatus and experiments;
  • – Engineered and fabricated the set up; and
  • – Tested and validated the results.

Tech development key to emissions reduction

“We are very excited that we could support Carbon Upcycling Technologies through this development process. Not only are we are delighted to partner with the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE to offer services to finalists – we’re also keen to help innovators accelerate their developments so we can move forward in the global race to reduce industrial carbon emissions and fight climate change,” says Sandra Odendahl, CEO and president of CMCRI.

CMCRI tested multiple pieces of the membrane under different conditions of temperature, pressure, and humidity over consecutive days.  The project with CMCRI gave CUT the ability to carry out small-scale tests in a real-life environment before allocating resources towards a scaled-up test with flue gas from a power plant. This phase 1 verification was a critical first step for validating the membrane and module. “There were a lot of learnings from the program,” said Sinha. “We saw definite selectivity improvements over other membranes and the performance was quite robust. This bodes real well for our next testing phase and industrial potential.”

About Carbon Upcycling Technologies
Carbon Upcycling Technologies (CUT) is transforming waste carbon into the resource of the future. CUT utilizes CO2 emissions to cultivate nanoparticles that enhance materials like concrete, plastics, and batteries. The CUT team prides itself on delivering products that make the building blocks of modern life longer lasting and more effective.