Calgary startup company CleanO2 is proving to be the Rumpelstiltskin of carbon dioxide emissions because of how its technology turns the waste into a commodity.
It sounds like a dirty job, but it created a technology called CARBiNX that essentially spins carbon waste into cleaner air and maybe even into your favourite soap.
The pilot device was cooked up in a southwest condo building’s mechanical room. The device, which is roughly two refrigerators in size, is connected to the building’s heating appliance.
CARBiNX helps generate heat while turning the building’s carbon emissions from the furnace into potash, which is collected every one or two weeks.
Jaeson Cardiff, the founder of CleanO2, is a former plumber. He dreamed up the concept after realizing how much his job was contributing to CO2 emissions.
“I spent a lot of time in mechanical rooms, a lot of time,” Cardiff said.
“The idea of this technology is to take the flue gas from a natural gas heating appliance, process it, extract this carbon out of the flue gas, convert it into a commodity that we use and extract the heat to offset other energy demands for the building.”
It took years of chemical trials and error before he created the invention in his basement in 2005.
“I could have damaged my house significantly. I don’t like the term ‘blew up’ but I use it quite frequently, apparently,” Cardiff said.
The CARBiNX device working in the condo building now offsets six to eight tones of carbon dioxide per year, while also profit-sharing with residents from the sale of the potash products.
Companies such as Lush Cosmetics are also using the device in a Calgary facility to create soda ash used in its soap production.
ATCO Natural Gas is another company in Alberta that uses the CARBiNX devices onsite.
“It will lower our emissions, which benefits everyone, as well as lower our operating costs,” Greg Caldwell with ATCO said.
According to ATCO, the typical Alberta home uses 100 gigajoules of energy, which equals more than 5,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
The CARBiNX helps the company capture 1,025 kg of emissions per year, according to Caldwell, and it’s putting the byproducts to work in its buildings.
“What we’ve done is take our own emissions that we’ve turned into soda ash and then started creating soap for our own uses. We have thousands of employees. We use lots of hand soap,” Caldwell said.
Cardiff is hoping to help organizations reduce their carbon emissions to clean the air while getting clean with soap and detergent products that come out of the invention.
“Regardless of your stance on climate change, carbon tax, carbon emissions, the issue associated with carbon emissions is not going to go anywhere,” Cardiff said.
Right now, CleanO2 only sells commercial units of the CARBiNX for $20,000 per unit.
The company hopes residential units will be for sale sometime soon at a reduced rate.