Calcium Carbonate, a solution to the energy crisis!

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Courtesy of Itgium

A 'chemical' solution exists to solve jointly the energy crisis and CO2 release. Thanks to the Lime, “Cycle C4” could produce liquid fuels (petrol, diesel, etc.) with no CO2 release. The cycle presents no technological uncertainty, each step is widely known and controlled. Profitable with a barrel quote at 100 dollars.

In 2004, the International Energy Agency annual report predicted that oil prices will reach $20 a barrel in 2010. This misdiagnosis underscores the difficulty of catching the future. Today, arguments suggesting a price strengthening arose : fossil energy exhaustion, emerging economies growing consumption, dollar weakness, political turmoil, speculation, greenhouse worsening. Even oil majors companies, traditionally optimistic, are considering oil higher extraction cost as it has been already done for the Canadian oil shale. In addition, the most important countries are assuming growing oriented prices : oil countries, anxious to develop and secure their future ; western countries, eager to exploit unprofitable deposits and to revive their national industrial.

In this context, alternative and renewable energy are experiencing a good trend : wind, solar, thermal, nuclear power plant, etc. Between them, chemistry suggests embarrassment. Seveso and Bhopal tragedies, as well as the so called European programme Reach brought legitimate concerns. Potentially dangerous, chemistry is considered detrimental to the environment as for example the fact that coal conversion into hydrocarbons liquid fuels produce CO2. Other concern, chemistry has been the latest solution for close to end governments ? During World War II, German Fischer & Tropsch process allowed the Wehrmacht to pursue the war. Banned by an embargo during the apartheid decades, South Africa developed a method called “coal to liquid.'

However, a 'chemical' solution exists to solve jointly the energy crisis and CO2 release.

First, we do not have to forget that chemical phenomena have made life possible on Earth! Three billion years ago, the land atmosphere was unbreathable, saturated with water vapor (steam), CO2 and highly toxic gases. Oxygen atoms were scarce. The ground was burned, mainly composed of magmatic rocks. Despite a formidable greenhouse effect, temperature declines. Condensing water gave birth to rain, then to seas and oceans. At this point, water oceans dissolves then precipitate minerals forms into harmful gases, including CO2. Therefore, carbonate minerals, including calcium carbonate or limestone, spread on earth's crust.

In ancient times, the first technological revolution was with lime ! It was the oldest binder used in construction, mainly appreciated by the Romans. Limestone are heat-treated in lime kilns to separate lime (CaO) from CO2, the two constituents of calcium carbonate. Being consolidated, lime gives a binding effect though combined CO2 and air moisture. By then, lime becomes calcium carbonate while capturing the exact amount of CO2 released during its production.

Present everywhere on earth, limestone is the most egalitarian mineral in the world. Being integrate into a cycle, the so called “Cycle C4” could produce liquid fuels (petrol, diesel, etc.) with no CO2 release.

The cycle presents no technological uncertainty, each step is widely known and controlled. First, CO2 is obtained by lime kiln from limestone, heated by non-fossil energy. Then comes hydrogen (H2) whose production could be achieved trough various ways, the first one, water. Genered by non-fossil (process) electricity (nuclear, hydro, wind, photovoltaic…), electrolyzed water produces hydrogen and oxygen. Then synthesis CO2 more H2 technology has been known for a long time. It requires to invest into major industrial units ! Last step is to capture the CO2 produced by the hydrocarbons once obtained. Whatever its destination, lime is 'doomed' to recover its CO2 equivalent ! Immersed in the sea (for solving problems of acidification), filed on facades of buildings or used in agriculture, lime capture CO2, according to a natural way. These techniques work indiscriminately through the land atmosphere as well where CO2 in heavily concentrated (cement, for example).

Finally, limestone and water will be returned to the natural environment, only the energy will be consumed ! Energy is the unique “Cycle 4” raw material : everything else is recycled (water and calcium carbonate).

This cycle is a convenient against middle term energy shortage. In addition to national independence, it allows to maintain today technologies in transport, agriculture and fishing, while facilitating engines innovation (hybrid, performance, reliability, and so an). Furthermore, it promotes an energy without carbon footprint (C-free). It also helps to preserve hydrocarbons reserve applications for more noble applications.

Profitable with a barrel quote at 100 dollars, calculated on the basis of 26.7 MWh per hydrocarbons tonne, energy expenditure shows a price of 0,025 € / kWh for a total cost of 0.67 € / litre of fuel. Below the current litre price (at the pump), the cost also includes the capture of CO2 released ! If therefore CO2 credits or rights to pollute will be enforced, it will be much more competitive.

Instead of predicting the future, it is better to provide right now an alternative against the energy crisis. In this case, lime, masterpiece of the “cycle C4”, is the right answer!

Claude CHARZAT (inventor) François de la CHEVALERIE, Jacques HUMBERT, Daniel JOUBERT (Cycle C4, patents co-owners)

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