Company turns pollution into valuable products

Skyonic partners with San Antonio's Capitol Cement


SAN ANTONIO – When Skyonic's Capitol Skymine facility begins production in San Antonio later this year, it will be the first of its kind.

Through a revolutionary process, the facility turns pollution into something you'll find at the grocery store -- baking soda.

The process takes carbon dioxide emissions from San Antonio's Capitol Cement plant, owned by Zachary Corporation, and transforms it into a valuable product. 

The Capitol Skymine is the world's first for-profit carbon mineralization plant.

By law, factories are obligated to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions from the cement plant are now piped next door the the $125 million Skymine facility.

"You're taking in emissions and turning it into a sellable product. It's very unique from that standpoint," said Jeff Smith, Capitol SkyMine plant manager.

The list of products produced from pollution includes baking soda, bleach and hydrochloric acid. 

Austin-based Skyonic's patented process attracted Capitol Cement in 2009, which led to San Antonio being the company's choice for its first facility.

"We did a lot of development research with Southwest Research Institute, and Zachary (Corporation) and Capitol have been great partners for us," said Stacy MacDiarmid, director of communications at Skyonic.

The new facility also translates to jobs for San Antonio workers.

"About 44 permanent jobs and about 200 indirect jobs in the economy," said MacDiarmid.

The facility is scheduled to begin operation later this year and is projected to rid the earth of 300,000 tons of CO2 each year.