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Chemoautotrophic (CAT™) Fixation of CO2

Prepared by Alan E. Bland, Ph.D.

Biological CO2 capture technologies are anticipated to require much smaller parasitic loads than conventional post-combustion CO2 capture technologies and have the added benefit of potentially producing beneficial valuable products. However, current biological CO 2 capture technologies, such as algae, are slow to uptake CO2, require sunlight, have restricted climatic conditions, and require extensive land area, thereby are not economical without subsidies and carbon credits. WRI is developing a chemoautotrophic (CAT™) process anticipated to offer a more beneficial biological–based CO2 capture process.

WRI is developing a biological process for the capture and utilization of CO2 from power plants, industrial facilities and other CO2 emitters. WRI’s patented Chemoautotrophic (CAT™) process enables capturing CO2 from power plant flue gas and converting the CO2 into useful products such as biofuels and bio-asphalt. WRI’s CAT™ process is a novel carbon capture and re-use technology that is based on the ability of chemoautotrophic bacteria to capture carbon dioxide and fix the carbon into organic molecules that can be processed to produce value-added bio-products.

Unlike other biologically based systems (e.g., algae), WRI’s CAT™ process does not require sunlight and does not have to be located in a warm climate to operate. The CAT™ process can be directly integrated to an existing stationary carbon dioxide source and is able to operate 24 hours a day, year-round, and at any latitude. As a result, the CAT™ process is compatible for use with large CO2 sources as well as small industrial CO2 sources. The unique biochemical systems, along with systems for biomass and water recycle, and biomass residue conversion to nutrients, allow the system to be continuously operated with a majority of the required nutrients being supplied from the process residues.

The carbon captured by the CAT™ process bacteria may be processed into a number of valuable bio-products. A major product of the CAT™ system are lipids, which may be converted into biofuels, bio-asphalt binder, green plastics, or similar materials using existing technologies.

Due to its production of salable bio-products, preliminary economics indicate the CAT™ process can potentially provide a cost carbon capture and sequestration/re-use option for utilities and industrial CO2 sources. As such, the CAT™ process provides the energy sector and other industrial emitters with a carbon capture and re-use technology that produces salable products, thereby turning an environmental issue and expense into a valued resource with potential to significantly reduce foreign oil imports and domestic consumption.

For more information, contact:

Frank Guffey 
Vice President 
Sustainable Emerging Technologies 
307/721-2416 
fguffey@uwyo.edu