CNN Money is reporting a story about Tom Kiser, the owner of a small business named Professional Supply, Inc, who has developed a new experimental technology he calls a liquid chimney. The liquid chimney captures the greenhouse gases escaping from coal or natural gas furnaces and turns those gases into harmless materials that could be used in construction or even used in the ocean to rebuild coral reefs. While the basic process has been around for 30 years, Kiser supposedly has made his patent pending process more efficient. He says that he is close to having a working model that could be retrofitted to existing furnaces that run on natural gas – eventually getting them to work with any fossil fuel, including coal.
Here’s how it works:
A. A natural-gas boiler sends its exhaust, laden with the greenhouse gas CO2, through a pipe to Kiser’s liquid chimney.
B. As the exhaust rises through a layer of plastic or stainless-steel rings, it is mixed with treated water (the ingredients are secret) in a process that captures most of the CO2.
C. The result: hot water (which is recycled to save energy) and calcium carbonate, which can be fashioned into building blocks, deposited in the ocean to replenish coral reefs, or returned to the earth.
Sounds like Mr. Kiser has a long way to go with this, but its something to watch. He does have good track record in this area – he became a weathly man by figuring out how to slash energy costs for large and small companies. Kiser developed something called Bigfoot, which at the Ford River Rouge factory complex replaced a huge coal burning furnace and miles of ducts with a small number of efficient rooftop gas units that promoted air circulation, recovered waste heat, and kept the workplace comfortable. Bigfoot is saving Ford more than $50 million a year in fuel costs and cutting annual carbon emissions by 257,000 tons – the equivalent of taking 35,000 cars off the road.
Click the link above for the full story.
Update – there’s some additional information and analysis of Tom Kiser’s liquid chimney over at The Energy Blog