Construction is deep under way at our Squamish demo plant site. The CE team has been working toward getting the air scrubber and pellet reactor installed these past two months. We call this the “wet end” of the plant, since both components circulate liquid, to scrub CO2 from the air and then concentrate the product in solid calcium carbonate pellets, respectively. Once this “wet end” is up and running, we’ll install the remaining equipment, known as the “hot end” of the plant. These parts of our system work in conjunction, with the “hot end” processing the solid pellets to produce pure CO2 (our end product) while re-making the original capture chemical to begin the cycle again.
For now, installing the “wet end” equipment is a full time job for the CE team, with focus on piping and installation of valves and meters, constructing the electrical power supply system, wiring up instruments and sensors, and getting ready to bring the equipment online step by step. This demo plant is by far our biggest project yet, and we've had great luck in recruiting talented and dedicated personnel to our team to help do the job. We now have several full-time staff on site in Squamish, who are bringing project management, construction, operations, and fabrication experience to the project.
Project partner SPX Cooling Technologies has delivered amazing support and service in building the air scrubber at our site. Their team – experts in building high performance and low cost air handling equipment – has built CE’s biggest scrubber yet. It’s 10 times bigger than the prototype that we ran in 2011-2012 and is built from far more economical parts and equipment that we can eventually use at large commercial scale. SPX’s site superintendents are shown below, in front of the first ever SPX/CE air scrubber.
On the pellet reactor system, Aggressive Metals and Faith Electrical have delivered several equipment skids that CE is now connecting and installing. The main pellet reactor vessel is over 40 feet tall, and the auxiliary support equipment is equally impressive to see in person. All of the pellet reactor system has been designed to be highly flexible during operation, and to allow detailed observation of performance. CE is going to test new operating methods on this equipment, that we think will optimize the pellet production rate and energy use. But in order to do that, we need the ability to monitor conditions throughout the reactor (hence a multitude of sample collection ports and instrument ports), and the ability to manage unwanted particles or products that are generated as we stress-test different operating modes. Building this flexibility into the pellet reactor has resulted in a fairly sophisticated set of equipment, shown below.
Everyone here at CE is enjoying having our equipment and plant come together, it’s a great pay-off to actually see the system come together after the long hours spent in engineering and design phases in order to get this far. And in fact, for a few of us on the team, we've been working on this concept for over 5 years now, and to see our system being built at this scale is incredibly satisfying. Next, in the coming months, the real fun begins when we flip the switches and start scrubbing CO2.