Codexis creates genetically modified enzyme to capture CO2 from flue gases

flue gas from coal fired power plants

Eco Factor: Cost-effective technology to capture CO2 from power plant emissions.

Conventional ways to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks of coal plants nearly doubles the price of electricity produced. This fact hinders the adoption of high-tech carbon capture systems that can lower the carbon footprint of coal-fired power plants. Researchers at Codexis have found answers in genetically engineered enzymes that can make carbon capture cost-effective.

The new enzyme, called carbonic anhydrase, increases the efficiency of carbon capture by a factor of 100. This promises to decrease the energy needed to capture and store the greenhouse gas. The most challenging problem was to alter the enzyme so that they can survive at high temperatures. Originally the enzyme can survive at temperatures about 25 degrees Celsius, but cease to work at temperatures higher than 65 degrees Celsius.

The research team modified the enzyme so that it can survive at temperatures above 85 degrees Celsius for half an hour, which is enough to survive in smokestacks. However, for freeing the greenhouse gas for storage, the enzymes should be able to work at a temperature of about 130 degrees Celsius. Codexis has stated that the company has seen large improvements since the initial results were disclosed and has made the enzyme practical for low-cost carbon capture.

Via: Technology Review