"Let’s Capture Some CO2!" say IIT Kharagpur graduates; The Carbon Clean Solutions Story

9th Nov 2011
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Carbon Clean Solutions has developed cutting edge carbon capture technology, to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emission from power plants and other industrial utilities. “Using this technology,” says co-founder Aniruddha Sharma, “makes it practically possible to capture upto 90% carbon dioxide emission from the flue gases.”The idea originated from, back in 2008, when Prateek Bumb and Aniruddha Sharma, IIT Kharagpur students, worked together on a college project.

Needless to say, just like any other venture, they too faced their share of initial challenges while starting up. The basic acceptability of their idea itself was the biggest challenge they faced at the starting up stage. There was also a lack of customer feedback, their customers being Power plants (and other CO2 emitting industries) and were fairly busy people.

Operational since Oct 2009, today CCS has its offices in Mumbai and Bangalore and they recently closed their last round of investment from global pool of investors.

The Technology

Prateek and Aniruddha worked on developing a technology that, in simple words, could remove 90% of carbon dioxide from power plants making them clean. Flue gas, containing Carbon Dioxide (CO2), is passed through a cylindrical tower called ‘Absorber column’ that contains a proprietary chemical that absorbs the CO2 due to a chemical reaction. Once absorbed, steam is passed through this chemical that strips CO2 from it. Pure CO2 is then compressed and sent for further use, while the chemical is circulated back to the absorber column for reuse.

Pure CO2 can be used for “Sequestration”, i.e. boosting oil recovery form depleted oil fields via EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) or ECMB (Enhanced Coal Bed Methane Recovery). On the other hand, it could also be used for “Reuse”, i.e. in beverage industries (cold drinks/beer), for algae cultivation to produce bio-fuel, bio-mass or nutraceuticals or can be used to produce fuel feedstock. So if you close the ends, it creates a win-win situation by giving clean power on one hand and financial incentive for producing clean power on the other.

Although a few individual companies across the world are trying to develop carbon dioxide capture technology, it still remain a highly capital intensive proposition. And due to high capex and opex requirements, carbon capture is still not commercially deployed. So, what differentiates CCS from the other similar market-players is their patented APBS technology. This technology was developed by CCS and works to reduce the operating expense (opex) by 30% and capital expense (capex) by 20% as compared to present day technology.

Their greatest challenge now is successful demonstration of their technology and industry partnerships. They are currently working with one of the largest power producers in the country to demonstrate their technology at a commercial pilot scale. Any point source carbon dioxide emitter, such as power plants, fertilizer plants, iron & steel plants, is a potential client for CCS.

The Impact

Approximately 80% of world’s energy today, comes from fossil fuels. Due to increasing living standards and growth of population, this consumption is set to go up, leading to even more CO2 emissions. Climate change is real and will affect the poorest two billion on our planet, if not checked. According to IEA “carbon capture & sequestration” will contribute to approximately 20% of overall CO2 emissions reduction in any policy adoption scenario. (Each scenario is a mix of different measures, such as Renewable energy plus Energy efficiency plus Mass transportation plus Carbon capture and so on and so forth.)

There are approximately 5000 power plant boilers across the world that produce some 10Billion tons of CO2 every year. Successful demonstration of CCS’ technology at a commercial scale would reduce a significant percentage of that CO2 and that’s exactly how their impact is measured.

The Team

A full time team of six members currently, they are looking to hire an experienced mechanical engineer, who is ready to take up the charge from day one helping them solve an exciting technological challenge and oh yes, they also love interns!

As a CEO and co-founder, Aniruddha Sharma, who holds a bachelor (hons.) and masters degree in Statistics from IIT Kharagpur, leads the product and customer development at CCS and is responsible for investors relations and the company's day to day operations. He was also a part of youth delegation to UNFCCC (United Nations Climate Change Convention) in Copenhagen, has international experience in Switzerland and was one amongst the two delegates who represented India at Eco-Minds in NZ in 2009.

As CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and co-founder, Prateek Bumb heads the research, innovation and intellectual property strategy at CCS. He holds a BTech (Mining) and MTech (Environmental) from IIT Kharagpur and has published multiple papers on Carbon Capture in international papers. He also owns three patents on Energy-efficient CO2 Capture technology. He has international experience in Italy and France and during his studies was working with five universities in India, Italy and France on CO2 capture and sequestration.

“Keeping with our culture”, the CEO chips, “we believe that ideas can come from anywhere and not just from behind the desk”. Hence CCS runs something called the ‘Carbon Lab Programme’, where anyone can submit a new carbon capture idea and if that excites them enough, they will help to take it to execution! So spread the word "Let’s capture some CO2!"

For further information please check out CarbonCleanSolutions.

-         Abhilasha Dafria, YourStory.in

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