Codexis, one of the many companies that hope to harness the magic of biology to produce fuel, wants to do carbon capture too.
Alan Shaw, CEO, says that the company has an enzyme that could be implanted into smokestacks to reduce airborne carbon dioxide, according to Reuters. Most likely (i.e., my best guess), the enzyme would bind it to another substance to transform it into something that wouldn't pollute the atmosphere or that could be easily sequestered, perhaps a solid. The alternative would be to break it into carbon monoxide. Not so choice.
General Electric is a shareholder.
Other companies are also working on the mineralization of carbon dioxide. Skyonic in Texas has a system that turns carbon dioxide into sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, while Carbon Sciences turns it into calcium carbonate. Both companies have to add minerals into the process, but they reactions also take energy. Potentially, and ideally, a biological-inspired catalyst would reduce the amount of energy required in a reaction.
The controversial green cement company Calera is working on a similar problem: taking carbon dioxide and turning it into carbonates. Calera, however, has denied it has a biological angle.
This is not an easy chemistry experiment. Whoever cracks it could earn billions. In any event, Codexis is a good company to watch, if even just for the amusement value. Shaw likes to speak his mind.
"Oil and gas and diesel are the fuels of today and the internal combustion engine is the transportation of choice today," he said at the Western Energy Summit at the end of July. "The internal combustion engine will stay, although the fuel will change... The electric car for me is a bit of a dream."