Remember that subplot in Fight Club, where Tyler Durden and the anonymous narrator make and sell soap created from the human fat taken from liposuction clinics? Well, a Canadian startup called CleanO2 has come up with their own, much less problematic variation on that. No, they’re not making soap out of fat, but they are creating cleaning products by recycling another waste byproduct in the form of greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has developed technology for turning CO2 emissions from furnaces and boilers into material that can be used to make soap, detergents, and more. The technology comes in the form of so-called CARBiNX units, which resemble large refrigerators. They function by capturing and absorbing CO2 with a type of hydroxide. This creates a product called potash, which is then sold — with the money being shared between the CARBiNX unit owner and CleanO2. So far, 14 CARBiNX units have been installed at a variety of venues in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.
“The greatest challenge with carbon capture largely revolves around the economics,” founder Jaeson Cardiff told Digital Trends. “If the net benefit to both the environment and the customer are not clear and present then the likelihood of adopting the technology is quite low. Our technology is entirely profit-driven and can function as an enterprise without subsidy. That is not to say that support through subsidy is of [no] benefit to early-stage clean-tech developments, but rather that subsidy should be used as an incubator, rather than an ongoing support structure. By producing our own value-added products like soaps and detergents — that are matched in price to other comparable brands — we can both support our company and share in the profits with our customers to promote adoption. This is unheard of in the carbon tech market.”
Having shown some promise in Canada, CleanOS is now expanding into the U.S. with a pilot project in Minneapolis, supported by Centerpoint Energy. In Canada, people interested in purchasing the company’s soaps and detergents can do so through the AMRE Supply chain of stores. As of now, they’re not available to buy in stores in the U.S., although hopefully, that might change in the future. They can currently be purchased online, however.