Waltham, Massachusetts — Sustainable materials company Novomer is being handed a $5 million (Eur 3.7m) US Government grant to fund the production of chemicals from carbon dioxide.
The company is set to partner with Praxair to sequester and convert carbon dioxide and ethane-rich shale gas into mass market chemicals such as acrylic acid, butanediol and others used in paints, coatings and textiles. Earlier this year, Urethanes Technology International reported using existing Albermarle equipment.
The initiative is being supported by a Department of Energy grant as part of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.
Novomer claims its innovation can increase energy productivity of chemical manufacturing by up to 70% and reduce the CO2 footprint up to 110% – depending on target chemical.
The company says this would translate to energy savings of over 20 trillion BTUs per year within 10 years as well as the total sequestration of waste gases with only moderate temperature requirements.
The chemicals produced are existing chemical compounds, giving Novomer and its partners the ability to reach pilot scale (2,000 Metric Tons/yr) in 2015, and full commercial scale in 2017 which could in turn, result in the first US acrylic acid plant built in over 10 years.
Novomer said its processes, and the low cost of the feedstocks – waste CO2 and large volume shale gas – could bring cost savings as high as 20 – 40% compared with today's technologies and also vastly reduce crude oil dependency.
The industrial gas supplier will convert waste CO2 into CO using an innovative solid oxide electrolysis process. Novomer's catalyst-based process will convert the CO and ethylene oxide from shale gas into acrylic acid and other chemicals.
The method comprises two primary platforms: one that combines a traditional chemical feedstock such as a fossil fuel with CO2 to create more environmentally-friendly and higher performing materials.
The other combines an ethane-based feedstock (ethylene oxide) with CO.
Novomer CEO Jim Mahoney. "We are proud of what has been accomplished to date and excited for the future as we continue to commercialize the technology."