Veolia has teamed up with CCSL, a startup founded by two Indian chemists, to offer its large accounts a cost-effective solution for carbon capture and use without any subsidy or pricing.
Ramachadran Gopalan, the owner of the Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals chemical plant located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is clear. If he called on the services of Carbon Clean Solutions (CCSL) to capture the CO2 leaving the coal-fired power plant which adjoins its factory, it is not out of concern for the environment. No, it is to ensure a reliable and inexpensive supply of carbon dioxide, a raw material essential to his activities as a chemist. Indeed, the solvent developed by the two young founding chemists of the startup makes it possible to separate the molecules in a gas flow for a cost about twice lower than that of the technologies currently in force. It is the subject of a patent and CCSL’s business model is based on the sale of licenses.
A solvent which puts the tonne captured at 30 euros
This first global application of their process on an industrial scale did not appeal to the owner of Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals, which, thanks to the 60,000 tonnes captured, now operates an almost CO2-neutral plant without any subsidy. CCSL, born in India 8 years ago but now based in England where it benefits from a grant from the Imperial College and from the “entrepreneur” status, has also been spotted by Veolia.
“There are two parts to the capture and use of CO2 (CCU),” recalls Yohann Clere, the group’s Open Innovation manager. And, if many startups are working on the recovery of CO2, which may soon “transform into plastic, building materials or even fuels”, it is upstream, namely capture, that CCSL is positioned. “While everyone expects a high carbon price or a tightening of regulations, this technology, which comes at a cost of 30 to 40 euros per tonne of CO2 captured against at least 70 euros for other methods (washing with amines , membrane purification or cryogenics), allows you to act now. “
Re-inject CO2 into the site where it was captured
Many manufacturers (including large Veolia accounts) use CO2 as a raw material. Most of the time, they have it delivered in liquefied form by tanker trucks, even though certain equipment on their site emits carbon dioxide, starting with thermal power stations. Hence the idea of offering them the principle recently validated in India: capturing CO2 on site and re-injecting it directly into their industrial processes. It is in this perspective that a partnership was signed between Veolia and CCSL stipulating an exclusive right on the main commercial targets. With the aim of developing at least two projects similar to that of Tamil Nadu in four years, which represents a turnover of $ 3 million. Ultimately, CCSL estimates that its technology could make it possible to absorb and enhance 5 to 10% of global emissions.
CO2 recovery, a $ 800 billion market
It is therefore together that Johann Clere and the founders of CCSL are currently on tour in China in order to offer their solution to the group’s Asian industrial customers. Local authorities, other major Veolia customers, could also be interested.
Secondly, they do not refrain from canvassing other CO2 users. Besides, Veolia is also interested in the downstream part, the use of CO2, which could represent a market of 800 billion dollars in 2030.
Even if the CCS (CO2 capture and storage) market, which had seen the birth of many projects a few years ago, is gradually turning into a CCU (CO2 capture and use) market, in which geological storage is replaced by the recovery of carbon dioxide which increases its profitability, it nonetheless requires a drop in capture costs such as that allowed by CCSL, to finally take off.