Class Warfare Blog

January 4, 2017

An Appalling Lack of Chemical Knowledge

Filed under: Business,Science — Steve Ruis @ 10:21 am
Tags: , ,

As reported in The Grist:

This Plant in India Transforms CO2 into Baking Soda
Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals promises to prevent emissions of 60,000 tons of CO2 a year by redirecting it from a coal-powered boiler to a new industrial process.

Here’s how the technology works: As the chemical plant’s coal-fired boiler releases flue gas, a spritz of a patented new chemical strips out the molecules of CO2. The captured CO2 is then mixed with rock salt and ammonia to make baking soda.

The process, invented by Carbon Clean Solutions, marks a global breakthrough in carbon-capture technology. Most such projects aim to bury CO2 in underground rocks, reaping no economic benefit; that’s called carbon capture and storage (CCS). But Tuticorin represents the first successful industrial-scale application of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), meaning the carbon is put to good use and helps turn a profit.

Tuticorin’s owner says the plant now has virtually no emissions. And the facility is not receiving any government subsidies. Many carbon-capture projects have needed subsidies because of high costs, but Carbon Clean’s process is more efficient, requiring less energy and less equipment.

Carbon Clean believes that CCU could ultimately neutralize 5 to 10 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions from coal.


The operative (and errant) phrase here is “Most such projects aim to bury CO2 in underground rocks, reaping no economic benefit.” The reason is that if sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda, or sodium hydrogen carbonate) gets used, the CO2 gets released back into the atmosphere! Bloody Hell!

Effing morons!

Here are some of the myriad uses of sodium bicarbonate:
Used to kill cockroaches. Once consumed, it causes internal organs of cockroaches to burst due to gas collection. The “gas” is CO2!

Sodium bicarbonate is one of the main components of the common incendiary “black snake” firework. The effect is caused by the thermal decomposition, which produces carbon dioxide gas to produce a long snake-like ash as a combustion product of the other main component.

Sodium bicarbonate can be used to extinguish small grease or electrical fires by being thrown over the fire, as heating of sodium bicarbonate releases carbon dioxide. Note: It is also used in “dry chemical” fire extinguishers. The CO2 released is what really extinguishes the fire.

Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water can be used as an antacid to treat acid indigestion and heartburn. Part of the relief is due to CO2 being released which adds to the pre-existing stomach gas causing that gas to be released in a belch.

Morons! “… meaning the carbon is put to good use and helps turn a profit” means the CO2 is put back into the atmosphere! But as long as there is an effing profit, who cares!

Would you have read this and believed it? Would you have been fooled into thinking that this is a good thing for Climate Change reduction? Basically these idiots are renting the CO2 for a short time, causing no net reduction in atmospheric CO2. The only way for this to reduce CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere is for it to be not used! Which is exactly what this company scorned? Sequester it, lock it away? But we could sell it!





  1. They may or may not be morons but they are what more and more of the business right coalition are for sure- starting with the new President elect: misinformation propagandists with a complete disinterest in the real science or inconvenient facts that challenges their self serving duplicity.

    Comment by gskalsky — January 4, 2017 @ 10:50 am | Reply

  2. Good catch. If there is anything I retained from Chemistry 101 (and there wasn’t much I did) it is that we live in a closed system. Nothing escapes. It merely transfers from one state to another – from either gas, liquids or solids.

    Kind of like your pen icon changing from vapor to solid right before my eyes. 🙂

    Comment by lbwoodgate — January 4, 2017 @ 11:21 am | Reply

    • I took it that my words were mesmerizing! Heck, I trip over invisible hazards, so that’s not such a big deal!

      Cheers from here. Hope your 2017 is a good one.

      On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 11:21 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 4, 2017 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

      • Thanks Steve. Hope yours is equally satisfying, considering with what we have to contend with for the next 4 years.

        Comment by lbwoodgate — January 4, 2017 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  3. Hmmmm, well that went and buggered everything up!

    Comment by john zande — January 4, 2017 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  4. You are correct that this process is basically temporarily storing CO2 in baking soda, before releasing it back it into the atmosphere. However, whether it’s a environmentally good idea depends on how the current process gets CO2 to use in baking soda production – and if wikipedia is correct, the usual methods are either mining NaHCO3, or dissolving calcium carbonate (mined limestone) to make CO2 (( Both these methods take CO2 permanently stored in minerals, and release it into the atmosphere, in addition to any CO2 released in burning fossil fuels. So converting the CO2 from emissions into soda (even though it doesn’t actually trap CO2) is still preferable to the existing methods, because it does not require releasing additional CO2 trapped in minerals. Well, yeah -other than the fossil fuels being burned, but if they get burned anyway, it’s still better to use CO2 for something else.

    Comment by List of X — January 4, 2017 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

    • All of the limestone (CaCO3) and soda ash (Na2CO3) and other carbonates mined from the Earth end up releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. To remove it, the CO2 must be converted back into something like Limestone and buried where it won’t experience weathering (in a desert salt mine?). To shuffle it around so it reduces the amount we need to make from other sources will have to be proven by a cost/benefit analysis.

      This new process takes quite a bit of energy, makes coal look “better”. As to reducing the amount of sodium bicarbonate being made by other means, those means do not release CO2 into the atmosphere, only when it gets used. So, the new process, simple stores it for a time and maybe reduces the amount of new sodium bicarbonate being used, how much is very debatable.

      Currently there are scrubbers that can efficienly remove CO2 from the air and that CO2 could be made into other chemicals. Why take it from a coal burning plant? I am quite suspicious.

      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 4, 2017 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

      • Why not take it from a coal-burning plant? That CO2 is already being released. I don’t see how mining carbonates and releasing CO2 from them in addition to CO2 emitted from burning coal can possibly release less CO2 than using emitted CO2 from the coal burning and leaving carbonate minerals in the ground. Yes, that requires energy, but so do the current methods, and so do CO2 scrubbers. And, by the way, removing CO2 from a coal plant chimney would be much more efficient than removing it from the air since CO2 concentration in the coal fire exhaust is going to be much higher than in the air, since coal is pretty much pure carbon.
        I don’t think this method makes coal into a clean source of energy, but if this method can avoid the need for more CO2 from being released elsewhere, this method is still worth trying.

        Comment by List of X — January 5, 2017 @ 12:36 am | Reply

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