The article appeared in Carbon Capture Journal, September - October 2012
Strataclear® is the first CO2 capture technology for moving vehicles and home heating systems. It is an innovative carbon capture technology that removes CO2 from exhaust gasses up to: 25% in automobiles; 40% in trucks; and, 50% in home heating furnaces. Moreover, the technology produces a clean solid residual material that can be sold for use in many industrial applications.
By Donald G. Rynne, Ryncosmos LLC
The Strataclear system is a unique emission reduction technology that will enable the capture and disposal of carbon dioxide gas from moving vehicles and home heating systems.
A specially designed system, Strataclear® includes removable absorber cartridges that replace the resonator and muffler in a vehicle’s exhaust system. The solid absorber never changes its form even when it is completely spent. Nor does it impede the flow of the exhaust or engine performance. Contained in a CO2 capture device, the absorber cartridges are simply stored along the perimeter of the car trunk until they are easily replaced at a gas station or another exchange facility.
With patent pending from New York-based Ryncosmos, LLC, the new technology reduces carbon emissions from any type of internal combustion engine. The exhaust gases pass the catalytic converter then enter the Strataclear® exhaust treatment system where CO2 is absorbed. The purified exhaust with reduced CO2 is emitted from the tailpipe where it captures up to 25% of carbon dioxide in automobiles and 40% in trucks.
In home heating systems, the technology captures as much as 50% carbon dioxide, providing the user with a 37% savings on gas or oil heating bills. The by product is a clean chemically inert material captured in the absorber that can be safely stored and used broadly in numerous exciting industrial applications, creating great potential for viable profit centres.
Following extensive tests at its Program for Advanced Vehicle Evaluation (PAVE) facility, Auburn University certified the Strataclear technology. The testing was done with a small diesel car equipped with the emission reduction technology. The car made intensive round trips on the Auburn test track at different speeds over a two-day period. The collected data were analysed by University researchers who certified to the efficacy of the carbon dioxide emissions.
They also certified they found no adverse effects on engine efficiency. As a result of this testing, Ryncosmos and Auburn University instituted a close academic working relationship.
Although great strides have been made to reduce CO2 emissions, its storage and disposal is an ongoing issue. Most CO2 capture technologies produce liquid form residue, which must be carefully disposed of deep underground or under the ocean floor. Strataclear®’s residue is a clean solid dynamic material. The technology changes the traditional way we view Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which for many evokes a large scale installation similar in size to a power station or plant full of complex equipment such as valves, pumps and exchangers.
The Strataclear residual material has economical and product-enhancing potentials that touch many industries. Among them are construction, road building, iron smelting and pulp and paper. It can also be used for sulphur removal from flue gases and in glass making, sewage treatment plants and coal mining.
Preliminary results from in-house testing of the technology’s residual with sheetrock and bricks concluded the following:
- Sheetrock becomes much lighter when 50% of the gypsum is replaced with the residual. Moreover, when it is subjected to 1000° F for six minutes there is no penetration. The standard sheetrock, on the other hand - made with 100% gypsum and subjected to the same heat for half the time – showed penetration.
- A standard brick consisting of equal parts cement and sand weighs a third more than a brick with equal parts cement and the residual material. Not only is the cement/residual brick much stronger but it appears more resistant to heat and cold.
Further research and scientific testing is currently underway at the Auburn University PAVE facility to evaluate and certify the residual’s many applications in numerous industries. Nonetheless, the in-house testing conducted so far has shown exciting results making its potential for sustainable profit centers very real.
The policy of CO2 reduction in vehicles
In late March 2012, AutoNews Europe reported that by 2015, the auto industry must reduce CO2 emissions from new cars sold in Europe to a fleet average of 130 grams per kilometer. Last year's average was 140.9g/km, down from 145.9g/km in 2009, according to an analysis of 21 European markets by JATO, an automotive intelligence provider.
The magazine went on to cite Toyota Motor Corp., PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA and BMW AG as the automakers closest to reaching their EU-mandated CO2 targets. Toyota, PSA and BMW need to cut their overall fleet emissions by 7 percent or less to comply with the tougher emissions regulations, which start to take effect next year.
Daimler AG, Mazda Motor Corp., and Nissan Motor Co., will need to speed up the pace of their CO2 cuts to help the industry reach its overall goal. If the automakers fall short, they will face steep fines, which have been established from 2012 to 2018. Most industry experts say it is unlikely automakers will miss their targets.
As new engine technologies shift toward cheaper, smaller, lighter vehicles, said JATO, this will help automakers’ CO2 emissions. For example, Toyota only needs to cut its fleet CO2 by 4.2 percent by 2015 to reach its EU target of 20% reductions by 2020. Overall, Toyota ranked second in Europe last year based on average CO2 emissions of 130.0g/km while Fiat had the lowest CO2 emissions at 125.9g/km. They need to drop down to 116.1g/km – an 8.4 percent decrease – by 2015, according to JATO's “A Review of CO2 Car Emissions Across Europe FY 2010” report.
The new carbon capture technology clearly complements efforts to build smaller cars with more efficient engines at a fraction of the cost.
In 2008, carmakers lobbied aggressively to extend by three years a deadline for average new car CO2 emissions to reach 130g/km. As a result, the EU postponed the target year from 2012 until 2015.
Industry experts say the next goal of 95/g/km by 2020, is going to be hard to achieve pointing to the next step and beyond becoming, “…. ever more challenging and expensive” as they focus on the “need to make [auto] parts out of magnesium and other exotic expensive materials,” says AutoNews.
To reduce the amount of CO2, a gas blamed for climate change, the EU set automakers’ individual CO2 reduction targets as part of a goal to cut average new-car emissions in Europe overall to 130g/km by 2015 from 160g/km in 2006. The 130g/km figure is equivalent to fuel consumption of about 5.6 liters of gasoline or 4.9 liters of diesel fuel per 100 km.
Pressed by French and German automakers, the EU also introduced a weightbased system that sets individual targets for each automaker. Fiat, which sells mainly small cars, had the lightest average weight for its models at 1,067kg last year compared with 1,337kg in 2009.
CO2 emissions control in the U.S.
Worldwatch, an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns, reported a year ago the California legislature passed a bill establishing the most extensive CO2 emission controls in the U.S.
The law requires a 25 percent reduction in state CO2 emissions by 2020, with the first major controls taking effect in 2012. The California Air Resources Board, the agency that enforces the state’s air pollution controls, will be the main authority in establishing emission targets and noncompliance penalties, which also allows for business incentives to reach the goals.
The research institute also reported several northeastern U.S. states signed a regional agreement to reduce CO2 emissions back in December of 2005 but their target would reduce emissions by only some 24 million tons. The California mandate, which aims to cut emissions to their 1990 level, will result in cuts of some 174 million tons.
Supporters hope the legislation will instead inspire other states -- and eventually the federal government -- to follow suit said Worldwatch.
President Obama has repeatedly reiterated his support for an aggressive effort to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the National Centre for Public Policy Research. He promised to reduce U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 - a cut of about 16 percent - and then to cut them an additional 80 percent by 2050. That's an overall cut of 68 percent from today and would mean trimming U.S. carbon emissions to roughly where they were in 1905.
Note: All emission estimates from the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010.
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the main human activity that emits CO2 is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation, although certain industrial processes and land-use changes also emit CO2. The EPA cites Electricity, Transportation and Industry as the main sources of CO2 emissions in the United States.
Electricity: Coal burning to produce electricity generates more CO2 than oil or natural gas accounting for 40% of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 33% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2009.
Transportation: The combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods is the second largest source of CO2 emissions, accounting for about 31% of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 26% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. This category includes transportation sources such as highway vehicles, air travel, marine transportation, and rail.
Industry: Many industrial processes emit CO2 through fossil fuel combustion. Several processes also produce CO2 emissions through chemical reactions that do not involve combustion, for example, the production and consumption of mineral products such as cement, the production of metals such as iron and steel, and the production of chemicals.
Various industrial processes accounted for about 14% of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 20% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. Note that many industrial processes also use electricity and therefore indirectly cause the emissions from the electricity production.
Given one kg equals approximately 2.2 pounds, one US gallon of fuel when completely burned, on average produces CO2 emissions, as follows: Diesel: 9.96 kg or 5,070 liters in normal pressure and temperature; Biofuel: 9.42 kg or 4,800 liters; and, Gasoline: 8.71 kg or 4,400 liters resulting in 22, 21 and 19 pounds of CO2, respectively, while furnaces emit 50% more carbon dioxide. A reduction of 25% CO2 emissions or more moves an entire fleet of trucks into compliance.
A new way to control emissions
Car and truck manufacturers, who must comply with impending legislation, including the US existing and proposed CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, US regional and state standards as well as more strict regulations in Europe and other countries, will find an effective solution in the new technology. As such, Ryncosmos sees the establishment of a new industry, which creates thousands of jobs and generates large profits.
Most countries regulate emissions from moving vehicles in some fashion including both the air quality emissions (carbon oxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons etc.) and GHG (greenhouse gases), chiefly CO2. The regulation sets targets either directly on the CO2 emissions or on fuel consumption.
Moreover, the majority of European countries, Japan and the US set such standards and/or market-based programs. In California a bill was passed launching the most extensive CO2 emission controls yet in the United States. The law calls for a 25 percent reduction in state CO2 emissions by 2020. It takes effect this year. On the East Coast all states except New Jersey have embraced the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
In the US, the EPA standards are estimated to achieve a fleet-wide level of 155 g/km of CO2 in model year 2016 and its proposed standards are estimated to achieve a fleet-wide level of 101 g/km of CO2 in model year 2025 (passenger car target is 89 g/km CO2, the light truck target is 126 g/km CO2).
Strataclear’s dual application is the answer to reducing CO2 emissions and capturing carbon efficiently and safely. Due to its great economic potential, it can reduce the cost to manufacture a car, lower home heating costs substantially, and all the while it can provide a profit center by recycling its byproduct, which has wide applications across industry. It’s a win-win and most importantly it “greens” the world and brings us the future today.
Donald G. Rynne
Chairman & CEO