The Baking Soda Carbon Fix

“SkyMines” turn power plant effluvia into an odor-fighting household product. But can you bake with it?


If the Austin-based company Skyonic has its way, we will one day have tons more baking soda on hand that could fill cakes or fight fridge odors. CEO Joe David Jones, a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) pioneer, discovered a simple process to turn power plant carbon dioxide emissions into the ubiquitous household powder. His “SkyMine” technology combines a plant’s emissions with lye—created on-site with little more than salt, water, electricity, and waste heat from the plant—to produce food-grade baking soda.

The byproducts are hydrogen and chlorine from lye, which plants can sell for a profit along with the baking soda. The process removes 97 percent of the heavy metals that power plants belch, and 99 percent of acid-rain gases, meaning companies can offset costs by bypassing expensive scrubber systems and avoiding carbon emissions taxes.

According to Skyonic’s spokeswoman, Stacy MacDiarmid, Texas energy company Luminant has been operating a pilot SkyMine since July 2007 with “no major stumbling blocks.” If that remains true, it’s likely more plants will follow.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.