Tata Chemicals Europe has officially opened in late June the UK's first industrial-scale carbon capture and usage plant, a move the Tata Group company said signals a key milestone in the race to meet the country's net-zero targets.
The 20-million-pound investment was completed by Northwich-based Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE) in north-west England, one of Europe's leading producers of sodium carbonate, salt and sodium bicarbonate.
The company claims it is now able to manufacture one of the lowest carbon footprint sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate products in the world, chemicals used to make a wide array of everyday items seen in many households.
In a "world-first", carbon dioxide captured from energy generation emissions is being purified to food and pharmaceutical grade and used as a raw material in the manufacture of sodium bicarbonate, which will be known as Ecokarb and has potential life-saving uses.
"This unique and innovative process behind Ecokarb is patented in the UK with further patents pending in key territories around the world," TCE said."
Ecokarb will be exported to over 60 countries around the world and much of the sodium bicarbonate exported will be used in haemodialysis to treat people living with kidney disease," it said.
The carbon capture plant, which was supported with a grant through the UK government's Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme, has been hailed as a major step towards sustainable manufacturing - which will see TCE make net-zero sodium bicarbonate and one of the lowest carbon footprint sodium carbonate products in the world.