By Nick Gilbert
The first trona mine methane recovery facility of North America was commissioned by Solvay Chemicals in the presence of its US representative Cynthia Lummis and Chairman of the Board, Nicolas Boel. Methane released during mining is captured by the Methane Recovery System (MaRS), a closed loop, patent-pending design to avoid it from being vented into the atmosphere.
The captured methane is either sent to the trona processing facility to recover the thermal energy through combustion or incinerated.
MaRS was initially tested last year and is believed to have eliminated over 160,000 mt of atmospheric CO2 equivalent (CO2e).
According to Boel, since the waste gas is safely removed, incinerated from the mining operations, this facility practices the values of the company’s founder, Ernest Solvay who feels that science and technology are essential to advancing the condition of mankind and living up to the global challenges faced by society.
Solvay has made an investment of more than $4 million beginning in 2009 into the design, construction and testing of the facility and has collaborated and consulted with the federal and state offices of the Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency to implement the technology. The system can remove 300,000 t of CO2e every year. Its carbon offset credits and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction has been registered through the Climate Action Reserve, which independently verifies and issues the facility’s offsets.