Innovation in clean technologies will drive NetZero and form the path towards the Paris Agreement

07 December 2021

We asked our Founder, Tim Kruger for his thoughts on innovation in clean technologies and the Mission Innovation plan off the back of Cop26.

From the outset, we have been optimistic about the “Mission Innovation” plan when it was first launched in 2015. The good news is that following COP26, it has expanded further. Key takeaways from this plan focus on decarbonising power systems and shipping, and scaling up low-carbon hydrogen production. With future planning and carbon reduction, we need to bridge the gap between aims and delivery; it is more than just words.

As a global business community, we need to move forward and take action.

There are many ways to reach a Zero Carbon future, but one often overlooked player in the UK’s efforts to meet this milestone in 2050 is the development of zero-carbon lime. From the purification of water to the refinement of sugar, lime from limestone is crucial for many industries. Unfortunately, the production of this vital component currently results in 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere every year.

Zero carbon lime can eradicate these emissions. It offers not just a critical environmental benefit to the lime industry but a broader benefit to the UK as a suitable clean technology for removing CO2 from the air (direct air capture) and source (from the emitters of co2 such as steel manufacturing etc.).

The Mission Innovation plan covers four new missions, but what do these mean and importantly, how can zero carbon lime support these initiatives?

Mission one “urban transmission”: Our zero-carbon lime can be used to create carbon-negative building materials and support the future development of cities. These building materials will also capture carbon from the air as they cure in their creation, thereby removing CO2 from the atmosphere and removing CO2 in the creation of lime from limestone.

Mission two “NetZero industries”: let’s go beyond that; we should aim higher for net negative emissions. The Origen approach enables this. Steel, cement, and chemicals industry emissions can be substantially removed at source and further removed from the atmosphere. Zero carbon lime which emits no carbon, consumes 750-800kg carbon dioxide to every tonne of lime produced, compared to carbon-emitting lime, which for every tonne created, emits one tonne of CO2. Decarbonising lime also opens two significant possibilities: point source capture and direct air capture. Zero carbon lime is a suitable clean technology that doesn’t emit CO2 and removes CO2 from the air and at source – a net-negative technology.

Mission three “integrated biorefineries”: our zero carbon lime can be used in conjunction with biomass to generate fuels such as hydrogen whilst also removing CO2 from the air.

Mission four “Carbon dioxide removal technologies”: Further developments are currently in progress to enable the lime produced by Origen’s methods to remove existing carbon directly from the atmosphere. Removal technology will inevitably be the future. We are pioneering this design at 50,000 tonnes and at 100,000 tonnes, intending to have a pilot plant commissioning Q2 2022, and we have detailed plans for building at 150,000 tonnes a year.

However, even with the best efforts, we will still see emissions. With our technology, we are currently mopping up the emissions from the atmosphere and helping to clean up other industries. Our technology allows us to deliver lime – a critical industrial material in a way that doesn’t result in any emissions. This is very different from current practice, where each tonne lime = tonne CO2 in the atmosphere.

Once we have the zero-carbon lime, we can use it to create building materials that are carbon negative, strip CO2 from flue gasses of polluting industries and use it to direct air capture. We can react it with biomass in a way to generate hydrogen whilst stripping co2 from the air. We very much welcome the US governments department of energy target to bring down the cost of removing co2 from atmosphere to less than $100 by 2030. And our aim is that our approach will hit this target by 2030, if not before.

 

About Origen

Founded in 2013, Origen is building a cleaner future by developing revolutionary technologies that enable the production of zero-carbon lime for use in a wide range of industries, including sugar, construction and paper production.

Origen is at the cutting-edge of cleantech solutions for carbon capture, offering a scalable, cost-effective solution for point-source capture in flue gases.

The Origen team is now working towards using this zero-carbon lime for direct air capture, meaning that this cutting-edge development has the potential to remove billions of tons of CO2 directly from the atmosphere and bring us closer to achieving crucial climate change targets.