At the CCCI, we have lab space and piloting facilities to help you on the path to commercialization. But we are so much more than infrastructure. We are an unusual mix of experienced field engineers, technology developers, academic researchers, graduate students, and international collaborators. By bringing the best minds in the field together to collaborate and innovate, we stimulate creative problem solving and help clients reach their long-term technology development and business goals.
Following is a list of research groups currently engaged with the CCCI.
Dr. David Wilkinson and his research group at the University of British Columbia have developed a technology that has the potential to have a large impact on global CO2 emissions while addressing the issue of decreasing global water reserves. The novel technology, which is being demonstrated at a pilot plant at BC Research, uses CO2 to desalinate industrial wastewater, creating a smaller carbon footprint and an economical alternative to conventional desalination and CO2 removal technology. This waste-to-value technology combines salts present in industrial wastewater with CO2 in an electrochemical cell to convert the CO2 into high-value chemicals such as carbonate salts and acids that are particularly useful for the oil and gas industry. In contrast to technologies which try to address each issue separately, the coupling of both of these processes is unique and highly valuable for industry.
Designed as a process operated from a modular facility, the technology can be easily scaled based on wastewater volume treatment requirements, and the amount of CO2 that can be converted is dependent on the salt content and quantity of the wastewater. The modular design also means the technology will be easy to transport, easy to incorporate into other systems, and simple to operate on site. In what could possibly become a standard desalination and wastewater treatment, UBC’s technology is expected to have a significant impact on CO2 removal.
The development of the novel UBC technology over the last two years under a Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation grant (now Emissions Reduction Alberta) has been very successful with all milestones being met or exceeded. The CO2 removal and desalination rates have been shown to be in a range of interest and value for practical industrial applications. The scaled-up electrochemical reactor and corresponding pilot plant at BC Research is capable of treating up to 10 barrels of wastewater per day. Initial testing results have shown excellent agreement with the data generated from small-scale bench-top testing.
This work has been possible with leveraged funding through Western Economic Diversification (WED) Canada, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, and an industrial collaborator (NORAM Engineering and Constructors).
In 2015, Wilkinson’s project was featured in the journal Canadian Chemical News.
The Shimizu group, led by Prof. George Shimizu of University of Calgary, researches new solid sorbents for separation of carbon dioxide from gas mixtures including post-combustion flue gas (coal and natural gas), shale gas and biogas. The class of sorbents they employ are metal organic frameworks (MOFs) and they have developed a promising material, Calgary Framework-20, CALF-20, that has been licensed to Bow Valley Innovations. CALF-20 shows excellent capture ability at low partial pressures of CO2 but also has a low energy penalty for regeneration. It is also a robust material with a scalable preparation. CCCI funding will enable next stage development and the identification of optimal system engineering requirements.
Dr. Englezos and his students at the University of British Columbia study the fundamentals and applications of gas hydrate or clathrate hydrate crystals. These are non-stoichiometric inclusion compounds that form at suitable thermodynamic conditions from water (host molecule) and guest molecules with suitable size such as CO2, CH4, C2H6, C3H8, H2, O2, and N2. The guest molecules are accommodated inside well-defined cages of hydrogen-bonded water molecules (host lattice).
It has been demonstrated in semi batch experiments in the lab that formation of gas hydrates from flue (CO2/N2) and fuel (CO2/H2) gas mixtures enables post and pre-combustion capture of CO2 respectively. Interestingly, captured CO2 may also be stored as a solid gas hydrate which is advantageous because solid storage reduces the mobility and migration of CO2 in the reservoir. CO2 capture concept via hydrate crystallization has been proven in other laboratories around the world. In this project funded by CMC Research Institutes we aim to demonstrate the CO2 capture technology at a “Bench scale pilot plant” that will enable feasibility studies for a future development towards commercialization. CO2 capture process via hydrate crystallization is a clean (it does not use toxic or hazardous materials) and environmentally benign (uses water as a solvent) process. Another advantage of the process is that it can simultaneously capture H2S and SO2, thus eliminating the need to have pre-treatment steps for pre-combustion capture.