Company develops process to turn CO2 into baking soda

by Keith Anderson

June 23, 2005 Quebec city - CO2 Solutions inc. of Quebec city has developed a process to turn co2 into baking soda. Dr Sylvie Fradette, a blood researcher at the University of Laval isolated an enzyme that human lungs use to manage co2, extracting it from the blood to be exhaled. This natural enzyme forms the basis for the breakthrough technology.

The company was founded in 1997 by Dr. Fradette and Rejean Blais, a civil engineer.

At first it took a lot of work convincing potential investors that their idea was worthy but eventually a group of 650 investors put in $11 million and an initial public offering raised an additional $5.6 million last year.

The next step in developing the process was to clone the natural enzyme so that it could be mass produced. It took 2 years to attach a polymer support so that it could be used in their bio-reactor. A test program was set up using the Quebec city incinerator to validate the system and it worked very well. Alcoa also fitted the companies bio-reactor to one of it's aluminum smelter smoke stacks and the technology proved itself once again. For each tonne of co2 treated the bio-reactor produces several hundred kilo's of bicarbonate of soda.

Despite the Bush administrations "head in the sand" attitude to the dangers of global warming, many U.S states and municipalities are forging ahead with advanced technologies to combat the problem. Systems such as these fitted to U.S. smoke stacks could put a significant dent in the amount of co2 released to the atmosphere.

It is going to take further investment of $10 million to ramp up the system to scale. The company is looking for strategic partners to help further develop this promising technology.