Solvay commissions new methane recovery facility at US trona mine

Solvay Chemicals has commissioned North America’s first trona mine methane recovery facility, the company said on Friday.

The methane recovery system (MaRS) captures methane liberated during the mining process that would otherwise be vented directly into the atmosphere and instead directs it to either be incinerated, or piped to the trona processing facility to recover the thermal energy via combustion.

MaRS is a patent pending, closed-loop design. Since its initial testing last year, the project has already removed more than 160,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere, the company said.

“By safely removing, incinerating and/or beneficially using the waste gas from our mining operations,” Böel commented, “this facility puts into practice the values of our founder, Ernest Solvay, who believed deeply that science and technology are the keys to advancing mankind’s condition and meeting the global challenges our society faces.”

Starting in 2009, Solvay has invested nearly $4 million into designing, constructing and testing the facility, the company said, and has worked in close cooperation and consultation with the federal and state offices of the Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency to implement the technology.

It has the ultimate capacity to remove 300,000 tpy of CO2e.

Solvay has registered its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and carbon offset credits through the Climate Action Reserve, which independently verifies and issues the facility’s offsets.

“The Solvay Group has done a tremendous service for the trona industry in Wyoming,” said US Representative Cynthia Lummis, who attended the commissioning ceremony.

“This kind of innovation is crucial for the advancement and durability of trona mining as well as the communities and environment surrounding their operations.”

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