A Partial Solution to Climate Change
4C-Adapt is an early stage research organization formed in 2015. We’re based here in Portland and operate under a 501(c)3 model. Our non-profit status hinges on the core focus of our work – to sequester excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in large capacities through various chemical engineering methods, thus mitigating detrimental effects of fossil fuel usage on the environment. With atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide trending consistently upward and no end to this pattern in sight, 4C aims to spur innovation in energy production, industrial mining, and industrial manufacturing – sectors that are primary contributors to climate change.
Comprised of a small technical research team helmed by Dr. JD Hultine, 4C is managed by a board of directors and an executive director. Having secured approval for a number of patents and several provisional patents, we’ve moved past Proof of Principle in most key areas and are poised to implement our technology using a scale-up model. Considering the resources available in Oregon, torrefication is one of several avenues our team is using to develop a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) model.
Highlights of Torrefication
Bioenergy is increasingly being used to meet EU objectives for renewable energy generation and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Problems with using biomass however include high moisture contents, lower calorific value and poor grindability when compared to fossil fuels. Torrefication is a pre-treatment process that aims to address these issues.
- Torrefication of North American pine improves fuel properties.
- Torrefied pellets offer energy and greenhouse gas savings but increase land use.
- Torgas use is crucial for emission savings to offset fossil fuel use as utility fuel.
- Shipping contributes largest emissions and long distance favors torrefied pellets.
Grid Capacity and Stored Energy Overages
Currently, here in the northwestern United States, the price of electricity is relatively abundant and inexpensive. Over $1B of investment capital has been spent for wind-generated power within the Oregon-Washington Columbia Gorge over the last two decades, causing significant problems during late winter and spring with high wind speeds and more than 60 dams of the Columbia River watershed all being full to overflowing, often contributing to near over-capacity of the Bonneville Power Administration’s western United States electrical distribution grid.
- There is a need for a method of storing both stranded fossil fuel and electrical overabundance of energy.
- The model that our group is exploring uses less expensive off-peak electricity to power electrolysis and electrosynthesis processes for industrial manufacturing and mining purposes, creating jobs by building real things and generating real growth.
4C can utilize existing (and projected) energy surpluses very economically to power the sequestration of millions of tonnes of CO2/day while also offering solar and wind generation intermittency control with the potential of grid-scale load-leveling capabilities.
- Power oversupply (likely produced on a cycling nightly basis) can be used for additional chloralkali mining/mineral/electrolytic metal options.
- Value added in cyanoguanidine (CG), the base for an innovative fuel or exceptionally safe fertilizer. As a sustainable fuel, CG can be introduced to multiple markets as a new carbon-friendly generating asset.
- As a fertilizer, CG can be safely stored in bulk at farmer cooperatives and offers the option to also be locally hydrolyzed into ammonia at farmer cooperatives or at larger farms. Importantly, CG has long been known to limit fertilizer nitrates, as field run-off being washed into streams, thereby reducing (possibly eliminating) dead zones near the mouth of major rivers, such as the Columbia and Mississippi Rivers.