Canadian start-up turns CO2 into soap

Posted on 08 July 2020.

In Canada, the start-up CleanO2 has developed a device able to take CO2 from industrial boilers and produce potassium carbonate – which can be used to make soap.

Every second worldwide, more than 1,000 metric tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere. Something that has serious consequences in terms of both global warming and ocean acidification. So what if a use were found for the emissions instead of them becoming more pollution?

This ambition drove the Canadian start-up company CleanO2 to develop CARBiN-X. This innovative device is able to take CO2 from industrial boilers and produce potassium carbonate. A chemical used by the glass industry and the agricultural sector – and is also used in soap.This is what the cosmetics chain Lush is doing, which is already using the raw material created by CleanO2. It reduces CO2 emissions at the same time as limiting the amount of natural resources needed in soap manufacturing.Since it was set up in 2005, CleanO2 has installed 14 CARBiN-X units in Canada: in schools, residential buildings, factories and even a power plant. According to the company, each unit is capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 6 to 8 metric tons per year. "Think of the number of buildings that have heating units. The potential is enormous," said founder Jaeson Cardiff to the Radio-Canada news website.

The potassium carbonate is sold to detergent and soap manufacturers and the profits are shared between CleanO2 and the owner of the unit. According to the start-up, the cost of the CARBiN-X units will be amortized in four to five years. By the end of 2020, Jaeson Cardiff hopes to have sold one thousand CARBiN-X units and eventually wants to export them: "We have held discussions with prospects from Japan as well as Ireland. This is growing quite fast."