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Skyonic Gets ConocoPhillips, BP Backing for Carbon-Capture Plant

Skyonic Corp., a closely held developer of carbon-capture technology, received $9 million from ConocoPhillips, BP Plc and other new investors to fund its first commercial facility at a Texas cement plant.

Northwater Capital Management Inc. led the Series C financing, which also included PVS Chemicals Inc. and existing investor Carl Berg, Skyonic Chief Executive Officer Joe Jones said by telephone.

The funding will support construction of Skyonic’s $125 million system that’s expected to capture 75,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year from Capitol Aggregates Inc.’s cement plant in San Antonio, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The system also will remove acid and heavy metals from the plant’s flue gases.

The project also is funded by $28 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, and investors have committed additional equity that’s contingent on about $75 million in loans that Skyonic is seeking, Jones said. Construction is expected to start in September and the facility will begin production in 2014.

Skyonic, based in Austin, Texas, is developing systems that capture carbon dioxide by mineralizing the gas into sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, which primarily will be sold as an antacid ingredient for cattle feed, Jones said. Hydrochloric acid and bleach, by-products of the process, will be sold to PVS Chemicals.

Gas Plants

The company tested its technology at three Texas coal plants, and Jones said the systems may also cut emissions from natural-gas plants.

Unlike other carbon-capture systems that require “extremely concentrated CO2,” Skyonic’s technology is effective when the percentage concentration of the gas is in the “single digits” and has been tested as low as 3 percent, Jones said. That “makes us a natural fit for the nat gas-centric future that the world appears to be moving into.”

Other Skyonic backers include Luminant, a unit of Energy Future Holdings Corp., and David Zachry, chief executive officer of Capitol Aggregates’ parent company Zachry Corp.

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