Clean idea: Calgary tech company turning CO2 emissions into soap

Jaeson Cardiff never meant to get into the business of making soap.

He was actually working as a plumber when, in the depths of an inner-city condo’s utility room, he started developing an idea to help the environment.

“We’re trying to convert emissions into useable goods and have those goods sold on the open market,” said Cardiff.

He’s now the co-founder of CarbinX, a cleantech company in Calgary that has developed a technology to capture carbon monoxide from natural gas appliances, like furnaces and boilers.

CarbinX machines are about the size of two refrigerators and capture carbon emissions by using a hydroxide chemical to absorb it.

Read more: Calgary energy company eyeing Pincher Creek for potential carbon capture hub

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And rather than just store that carbon, it’s being turned into potassium carbonate, which is then added to soap.

“What the carbonate does is act like a water softener. So it’s going to give the lather a really silky feel,” said Michelle Regel, the owner of partnering company CleanO2. It’s purported to be the world’s first carbon capture soap.

While Cardiff admits the soap was developed as a marketing tool, the company is now selling some 100,000 bars every month.

“People are so excited about finally having a way to participate in capturing (greenhouse gases).”

More than 50 of the CarbinX systems are currently in use globally — everywhere from airports to condo buildings — reducing green house gases from appliances by about 20 per cent. Next year they hope to get to 50 per cent.

“The long-term goal for us is to completely decarbonize the heating industry,” said Cardiff.

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