4C-Adapt: Grid and non-grid manufacturing of key industrial materials with large capacity sequestering of carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
4C-Adapt develops technology that will facilitate grid and non-grid manufacturing of all metals and construction materials with large capacity sequestering of carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
4C offers a sustainable engineering solution to overuse of fossil fuels, based on economic competition with large industrial emitters.
Producing vast quantities of in-demand industrial raw materials and products such as metals and cement that are currently associated with millions of tons of CO2 emissions each day, 4C aims to meet global engineering demands while also sequestering CO2 in large capacities as a byproduct of mining operations.
4C-Adapt addresses sustainable energy production and carbon dioxide sequestration simultaneously.
- Anchored by a four-chambered electrolysis system created for conversion and production purposes, 4C technology is designed to profitably compete with grid and non-grid applications presently used by the steel, cement, and other manufacturing industries.
- This is a reliable method of controlling grid fluctuations commonly associated with the natural intermittency of wind and solar power.
- The four-chambered electrolysis system is designed with modular construction that will effectively address grid intermittency issues related to day-over-day output, as well as scalable functionality – the system can be instantly turned on and off with very little loss of overall efficiency.
- Early adopters will benefit by leveraging overabundant or locally generated non-grid electricity to produce numerous products instantly scalable to local markets.
- Further reducing manufacturing costs across a wide array of industries, our tech will take considerable pressure off the grid, minimize transportation costs associated with manufacturing, lower CO2 emissions, and create jobs that currently do not exist in today’s carbon economy.
What are the key outcomes and impact of your solution?
4C-Adapt advocates that tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emitted each day can be permanently sequestered via a combination of two scenarios.
The first is to consider CO2 sequestering capacity where orders of magnitude of sequestered byproduct are placed within mining voids, used for backfill, or layered below ore or coal refuse following processing of vast quantities of ore or coal being removed daily.
- Specifically, using the 4-chambered electrolysis/electrodialysis, possibly in combination with sodium hydroxide produced from a chloralkali process, sequestered carbon dioxide would be returned to the mining site for burial as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and/or sodium carbonate (washing soda).
- With coal shipped by rail to electrical generation facilities, the empty rail cars offer a means for sequestered byproduct to be returned to the mine site.
- Assuming complete tonnage back-haul with 40% of the coal emissions being sequestered, envelope calculations indicate roughly 100% of the returning rail cars will be filled, depending on the type of coal used for electrical generation.
Note: With the chloralkali process there is considerable heat produced from burning the hydrogen and chlorine for acid production. This heat could be used for drying the sodas or used for concentrating the soda-liquids to be pumped into subterranean strata.
The second scenario for reducing CO2 emissions is to selectively compete with those industrial commodities that are currently manufactured using fossil fuels.
- On a non-subsidized, cost-of-production basis, when using NW off-peak power that includes wind generated, solar, and/or stored battery power as a contributor to the BPA power source, 4C argues that strategic and non-strategic ore samples should be processed using 4C electrochemistry methods.
- Using olivine as the mineral example, the production of hydrogen for fuel, hydrochloric acid for mineral extraction, the option for production of ammonia and urea fertilizer, local production of strategic and non-strategic metals, an exceptional quality of fume silica, pure hematite concentrate, and magnesium-based cement can be considered.
Regarding the capacities for this paradigm shift in competitive commodity manufacturing:
- Merely following the processing of a single mineral, olivine - the iron produced from the olivine reserves within the Tennessee Valley Authority (200 million tons) and State of Washington (1700 million tons) would potentially allow United States iron production to become competitive with Asian producers, as well as with timber resources, thereby allowing for decentralized non-strategic metal production.
- Additionally, trees will continue to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
What actions do you propose to realize your stated goals?
4C-Adapt believes that the only way to profitably compete with the largest, centralized industrial commodities is by decentralized manufacturing of these same commodities using electrolysis and electrosynthesis technology.
- On a commodity cost basis to local customers, 4C-Adapt manufacturing technology aims to compete with established leaders in the coal, oil, and natural gas sectors while at the same time sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The first step in accomplishing this goal is rooted in electricity generation. Fortunately, Denmark is already paving the way, meeting 42% of its energy needs with wind-generated power, whereas the United States generates 40% of its electrical needs from coal. Solar power and hydro power are other alternative methods that must be encouraged.
- The United States is energy rich with wind power potential, positioning the Denmark model as a viable possibility in America.
Despite numerous environmental benefits, however, wind and solar-generated power falls short supplying a consistent and readily available “base-load” of electrical current into the grid. With both wind and solar power, there is an “intermittency” issue associated with fluctuations of the wind or cloud cover. Intermittency must be addressed if base-load electrical generation from coal is to be replaced with zero carbon emission alternative energy sources.
- Base-load power to the grid is, at the moment, provided primarily by hydro, nuclear and coal generation with the combined alternative energy sources of wind/solar/tidal/geothermal/etc., meeting less than 10% of America’s electrical needs.
- Electrolysis and electrosynthesis technology offers a solution to the intermittency problem today. More importantly, electrolysis and electrosynthesis can be utilized to produce locally-made commodities capable of competing with the world’s worst industrial carbon dioxide polluters, while sequestering carbon dioxide.
- There are numerous historical models that demonstrate how inexpensive electricity spawned aluminum metal production in the Bonneville-Columbia River basin, and even how magnesium could have been produced in equally massive capacities within the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) during and after WWII.
Using off-the-shelf electrolysis and electrosynthesis technologies to process massive quantities of the common mineral olivine allows for secondary functionality, permanently sequestering equally massive quantities of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere.
-The existence of 1,700 million tons of olivine reserves in the State of Washington and 200 million tons of olivine reserves within the Tennessee Valley Authority.
-The basic premise of a “profitable method of sequestering carbon dioxide” was mostly (but not entirely) proven in a WWII sponsored TVA Olivine Pilot Plant, using known mining and electrolysis processing of the 1940’s. Today, this same information about the TVA olivine pilot plant lays out a “blueprint” in extensive detail that 4C-Adapt aims to improve upon.
- A strong argument can be made for constructing an updated ore processing pilot plant using low-cost electricity at prices currently offered to Google, Facebook and Apple data centers here in Oregon.
- Ideally, this updated pilot plant will operate as a testing facility for a variety of ores, different concentrations of minerals within these ores, different combinations of electrolysis and electrosynthesis processes, and different industrial membranes used within these electrolysis processes, concurrently determining the costs and efficiencies of each of these samples.
The core issue of 4C-Adapt’s functionality assumes a grid or non-grid low-cost supply of electricity, local access to either port or rail, commodities produced that compete with major carbon emitters, and large-capacity disposal of the carbon-containing-Soda byproducts.
Although the Off-Peak cost of electricity is unusually low for 6-8 months in the Pacific NW the ideal position regarding an engineering solution to Climate Change must include hundreds, if not thousands, of low-cost generation sites that can be placed near mining locations for disposal of the Sodas.
Another option is the use of nuclear powered ships that may be moored near island mining sites where off-loading generated power would be used to power the 4C-Adapt electrolysis and electrolytic processes. In this scenario, following major earthquakes, ships having multi-megawatt off-loading capabilities might be moved in emergency situations to coastal cities where disrupted power can be quickly replaced.
Yet another future option to be considered is the use of the 4C-Adapt electrochemical process in removing toxic metals with electrochemical processing of brown fields.
As detailed in 4C-Adapt’s response to the DOE December 16th, 2016 RFI another concept to be considered is the use of stranded wind or solar resources providing non-grid electrical power that would enhance locally produced hydrochloric acid and byproduct Sodas that may be used in the recovery of oil and natural gas. Not considered in this RFI response is the potential concentration and use of additional agriculturally useful elements/fertilizers, following extractions of Mg, Fe, Cr, and Ni from olivine/basalt, or the potential of like-concentration of significant trace percentage metals, such as rare earth elements.
Historically, carbon dioxide has been studied and pumped under high pressure within deep geological strata. However, as also mentioned in DOE December 16th, 2016 RFI the problem with Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) use of supercritical CO2 for increasing recovery rates of oil and gas is cost, volume carbon dioxide transport difficulties, and considerable seismic study needed prior to injection. 4C-Adapt has reason to believe a less expensive option, with high volume disposal capacity in mind, would be to merely cover the Sodas of selected mining ventures, e.g. layered below waste rock or used to fill voids following coal mining or the extraction of strategic or non-strategic minerals. Also, and not mentioned in this DOE December 16th, 2016 RFI, is the concept of fossil fuel emission sequestered carbon, as Sodas, being back-hauled to a coal mining site from coal generation facilities.
Who will take these actions?
4C-Adapt is currently partnered with an academic research lab in Portland, Oregon to launch Phase 1 testing.
In association with Portland State University’s Chemistry Department three specific areas of a Department of Energy Request for Information (RFI) were addressed.
- Including, but not limited to, Sodas resulting from scrubbing CO2 from flared natural gas, as well as coal/natural gas or biochar electrical generation emissions.
Additionally, 4C-Adapt has worked with a corrosive metal science expert at the National Energy and Technology Lab in Albany, Oregon to identify applications for 4C-Adapt technology and to vet the efficacy of current research focal points.
Long Term Partnership Considerations:
Because of seasonal and increasing wind and solar input, low cost Bonneville Power Association (BPA) Off-Peak power available in the Pacific Northwest improves 4C-Adapt’s long-term potential.
- 4C-Adapt’s pilot plant would be adapted to not only test different mineral concentrations of olivine but also strategic and non-strategic minerals found within the Columbia River Basin, western United States and Canada.
- Large-capacity sequestration of carbon linked to each of these minerals and a variety of nanotechnology membrane improvements specific to each mineral would also be tested with 4C’s electrochemical methods.
Note: The 4C-Adapt vision includes an electrolysis industrial process that concentrates lesser percentage, yet valuable metals, including rare earth metal concentrates or more common calcium and potassium fertilizer concentrates, from different strata of any number of mining ventures. In this sense, a pilot plant would offer a wide range of significant Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) data for improved cost analysis and Go/No Go decision.
To be both functional and profitable, 4C-Adapt must first and foremost have a source of very inexpensive electricity near a source of ore, containing the necessary minerals and metals.
- Wind-powered generation has one unique attribute that most people are not aware of. Turbines have the ability to produce exponential increases in power. For example, doubling the wind speed harnesses eight times the power.
- Although most wind turbines download their generated electricity to a grid that distributes power, 4C-Adapt turbines will rarely be attached to any grid. The reason for this is that these wind turbines will be strategically placed in geographic areas with higher-than-average wind speeds – more than what is commonly found in most of Europe, most of the lower 48 States of the USA, or near most of Asia’s densely populated cities.
TerraPower, LLC, potentially offers multiple options toward 4C-Adapt’s goal of eliminating and/or sequestering 10 million daily tonnes of carbon dioxide in the future. With the assumption that TerraPower offers cost effective electricity for an electrochemical mining facility having access to coastal shipping or rail, 4C-Adapt’s technology would open tremendous opportunities for processing known Mineral Resources in the Pacific NW, Alaska, Canada and developing countries.
The first consideration is the cost of electricity, as this is the key to powering the four chambers and making 4C-Adapt a profitable project.
- Should the wind speed be reasonably consistent and swift, a lesser quality of ore might also be profitably considered, as the costs of importing fuel and acids used in mining any mineral are eliminated.
The second economic consideration is the transportation costs for moving bulk quantities of concentrated ores, pure metals, and/or construction materials.
4C-Adapt Pilot Plant - Proposed Geographies:
Astoria, St. Helens, Cascade Locks, Hood River, The Dalles, Arlington, Morrow, Umatilla, Portland.
Note: Port of Morrow property includes two gas-fired power plants and a coal-fired power plant operated by Portland General Electric.
Goldendale, Spokane, Longview, Moses Lake, Walla Walla, Benton, Kennewick, Pasco, Clarkston, Vancouver
The Port of Lewiston is the most inland seaport on the West Coast, located 465 river miles from the ocean.
What do you expect are the costs associated with piloting and implementing the solution, and what is your business model?
4C-Adapt is pursuing research under an open-source, nonprofit business model. Funding avenues for future development include federal grants and private sector partnerships. Profits generated from sales of products and byproducts (post-pilot plant scenario) will sustain future development.
Regarding current cost analysis:
The TVA pilot plant referenced above is complete in terms of functionality and output. The plant’s design is complementary to the 4-chambered electrolysis process that facilitates 4C-Adapt’s aims.
What is known:
a.) The cost of the TVA pilot plant was $95,000 with an output of 665 lbs magnesium chloride. Today’s cost for the same pilot plant would be approximately $4M.
b.) With economies of scale a 30 ton/day processing of olivine, including Quarry, Yards and Services, Raw Materials, Extraction, Purification, Dehydration, Electrolysis, Acid Production, Cell Sludge, and producing the same output of magnesium chloride would be approximately 1/100 of the the TVA demonstration plant’s design cost.
--- $8,102,839 (total cost of demonstration plant) X 0.01 (which would equal 600 pounds of magnesium chloride) X 16.89 (rate of inflation) = $1,368,570
--- Note: The above calculation addresses “Economies of Scale.” The output cost of magnesium chloride is less than half the pilot plant cost.
Additional information required for updating the pilot plant model is as follows:
- The Proof-of-Principle production of high capacity production of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) with utilization of the 4-chambered electrolysis-electrodialysis process.
- A cost analysis of using high capacity production of sodium hydroxide as a carbon dioxide sequestration agent, the products being sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and/or sodium carbonate.
- The cost of transportation/distribution of sodium hydroxide to a fossil fuel emissions source (such as a coal generation facility), the cost of reclaiming this soda, and the cost of a backhaul of this soda back to a coal mining site for burial.
- The recovery efficiency and cost of the known, lower percentage, nickel and chromium within the same TVA olivine resource that can profitably be extracted today.
- The recovery efficiency and cost of trace metals, such as rare earth elements, within the Washington state and TVA olivine resources that can profitably be extracted today.
- The value of the iron within either TVA or Washington state olivine resources, as 100% pure hematite, when produced with the 4-chambered electrolysis-electrodialysis process.
- The value of the fume silica within either TVA or Washington state olivine resources, when produced with the 4-chambered electrolysis-electrodialysis process.
- The value the 4-chambered electrolysis-electrodialysis process offers with on-site production of both fuel (hydrogen) and acid (HCl) for use in mining and processing of olivine.
- The value of excess hydrogen produced with the -chambered electrolysis-electrodialysis process remaining after all local mining fuel considerations are met.
In order for 4C to begin the next stage of research and development, the 4-chambered system’s electrochemical manufacturing capabilities must be tested. Subsequently, 4C will build a full-scale prototype to install in a geographic location with high wind speeds and an existing mining operation. Multiple locations in the northwestern United States have already been identified.
Although advances in electrolysis and electrosynthesis remains to be proven, improved upon, or disproven, a strong argument can be made for improving industrial electrolysis membranes when compared with 1940’s methods. Specifically, testing Portland State University membrane nanotechnology and integrating Columbia Basin low-cost electricity used to power the electrolysis system will offer fundamental efficiency data being updated.
4C-Adapt’s Near Term Research Efforts:
When considering 4C-Adapt’s 4-Chambered Electrolysis-Electrodialysis Process, in combination with the more mature Chloralkali Process, multiple orders-of-magnitude of carbon can be sequestered and disposed of in the form of the 4-Chambered byproducts, sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate, respectively baking and washing soda (Sodas).
4C-Adapt’s 4-5 year, Mid-Term Research Efforts:
Because of low cost Off-Peak power available in the Pacific Northwest, 4C-Adapt is pursuing updated electrolysis technology involving inter-chamber industrial membranes that would be used within the 4-Chambered Electrolysis-Electrodialysis Process. To effectively complement details originally supplied by an extensively detailed TVA pilot plant during WWII, real world testing of new technologies from multiple companies and universities will require a similar facility to test overall electrolysis efficiencies and membrane durability.
Product and Byproduct Cost References:
2015 merchant hydrogen market was valued at ~$18B in the U.S. with ~4.2 million metric tonnes (MT) produced. Using these numbers, the average merchant hydrogen market in 2015 was ~$4.28/kilogram. A range of $4-5/kg for hydrogen appears likely in 2017, indeed similar to 2016 and 2015.
Hydrochloric acid (HCl)
US $115-130 / Metric Ton | 100 Metric Ton/Metric Tons (Min. Order)
Supply Ability: 3000 Metric Ton/Metric Tons per Month
Port: Mumbai Adani Hazira
Hydrochloric acid (HCL) 30-33%
US $132-135 / Ton | 500 Ton/Tons (Min. Order)
Supply Ability: 10000 Ton/Tons per Month
Port: Nhava Sheva
Cas No. 1310-73-2 99%min NaOH Caustic Soda Bulk Sodium Hydroxide Price
US $310-470 / Metric Ton | 25 Metric Ton/Metric Tons (Min. Order)
Supply Ability: 2000 Metric Ton/Metric Tons per Month
Baking soda (NaHCO3)
Lowest bulk price seen in January 2017 is $150/MT
Washing soda (Na2CO3)
Lowest bulk price seen in January 2017 is $100/MT
Supercritical CO2 bulk price
The price of bulk CO2 is typically agreed through private negotiations between parties and is not generally available for public scrutiny.
1. Energy and economic considerations for ex-situ and aqueous mineral carbonation
Publication Date: 2004-01-01OSTI
2. Tennessee Valley Authority - Atlanta National Archives
Report 411. PRODUCTION OF MAGNESIUM FROM OLIVINE: TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC APPRAISALOF A PROCESS PROPOSED BY THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, 1941.
Report 454. EXPLORATORY STUDIES OF METHODS FOR PRODUCING MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE FROM OLIVINE, 1942.
Report 490. MAGNESIUM FROM OLIVINE BY HYDROCHLORIC ACID EXTRACTION FOLLOWED BY ELECTROLYSIS SMALL-AND INTERMEDIATE-SCALE INVESTIGATIONS, 1943.
Report 586. MAGNESIUM FROM OLIVINE BY HYDROCHLORIC ACID EXTRACTION FOLLOWED BY ELECTROLYSIS: PILOT-PLANT-SCALE STUDIES, 1945.
Office of Agriculture and Chemical Development, Correspondence 1933-1947. Box 45
Chemical Engineering Division, Design Section Correspondence, 1944-1958. Box 5
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