French vineyard to turn carbon emissions into toothpaste

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A Bordeaux winery has announced plans to capture CO2 produced during fermentation and convert it into sodium bicarbonate to be used for making toothpaste.

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As vineyards around the world face the threat of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, one vineyard in France has planned to do its part to reduce its carbon footprint. The business plan makes perfect sense and is one that should be financially and environmentally sustainable.

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux in France is famous for its red wine. The owner of the winery has announced plans to capture the carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process and convert it into sodium bicarbonate. He will then sell this sodium bicarbonate to pharmaceutical companies to be used for making toothpaste.

According to the Industrial Agricultural Products Center of the University of Nebraska, each gallon of wine produced is accompied by production of 6.29 pounds of carbon dioxide. While the carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation process is minimal when compared to that generated from other related activists like packaging and transportation, it can still prove harmful to the environment and certainly human health.

In 2008, two French wine makers suffocated while treading grapes with feet due to the carbon dioxide generated during the process. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and thus does not dissipate in the surroundings easily. Clearly, large wineries would have more sophisticated procedure of taking care of the CO2 emissions. The gas can be captured in the fermentation trap and reused. Wineries may reuse the carbon dioxide produced to prevent oxidation of the wine.

One option to reduce the release of emissions is to capture and send it to companies involved in storage activities. While the actual economics of such operation are not well known, one would assume that the wineries would be required to pay the carbon storage companies some fee to the transport and subsequent storage.

By converting the carbon emissions to sodium bicarbonate and selling it to pharmaceutical companies, toothpaste manufacturers, and various other industrial sectors, the wineries may end up developing an additional source of income.

This article was originally published on CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission

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  1. Ron Barnes 6 years ago

    Great to see some one has picked up my idear that should have been looked at by the Power industry about Bubbling Co2,s from flue stacks though crushed limestone and producing calcium carbonate like in nature that forms stalagmites and stalagmites .

  2. Jo Muller 6 years ago

    This is just greenwash. Nothing of this is reducing our global CO2 output. The CO2 used will be released later during the application or disposal of the bicarbonate. Or the CO2 has already been set free in the preparation of the precursors of the product.

    Same with bubbling CO2 through wet crushed lime stone. This might just lead to the opposite of the intended result. Limestone CaCO3 is essentially buried CO2. Bubbling CO2 through will dissolve some of the limestone and for Ca(HCO3)2 which is soluble and makes the CO2 in the component available to the environment and introduces it into the bio-cycle. By the way, the formation of stalactites will just release the ‘stored CO2 when Ca(HCO3)2 is converted back to CaCO3 + CO2.

    • Ron Barnes 6 years ago

      The purpose what I Intended the use For is to Remove the Co2 from The flue Emission of Fossil fueled Power stations giving them a little more time to catch up and replace with newer technology. The material is then Stored or can be reused. This in turns stops the need to manufacture Calcium carbonate as a specific product say for Tooth paste. Polishes can be added to shale and fly ash for concrete etc.

      • Ron Barnes 6 years ago

        It is in nature a little more complicated. Rain contains Atmospheric acids and Co2 Which combine to form Carbolic acid. In the Fumes of combustion as well as Co2,s their are acid,s that causes Acid rain So by combining both through the Solution the Scrubbing (cleaning) process will eliminate both turning it into a useful substance.

        • Jo Muller 6 years ago

          Ron, you need to look up a textbook of chemistry. CO2 is involved in a number of things, but not in acid rain.

          By the way, my expression ‘greenwash’ was a comment on the original article.

    • Ronald Brakels 6 years ago

      Jo, the CO2 for making sodium bicarbonate is often obtained from heating limestone. Skipping this step and using CO2 from fermentation is an improvement.

      • Jo Muller 6 years ago

        Not really, You need to have a look at the whole process. Limestone is not processed to make CO2. It is the other way round. CO2 is a ‘waste’ product, usually released into the air, when burning limestone to make quicklime or burnt lime (CaO).

        • Ronald Brakels 6 years ago

          If French wineries start using their carbon neutral CO2 as a feedstock, then all else equal, it will the decrease the value of CO2 produced by carbon positive methods which will increase the cost of producing things such as quicklime which will increase their price and reduce demand for them, resulting in less net CO2 being emitted. So it would be beneficial if wineries used their CO2 as a feedstock. Of course, whether or not they do would depend on the cost of the technology required and the carbon price.

    • Derek 6 years ago

      What strikes me as wrongin the article is the suggestion that the CO2 released during fermentation constitutes a greenhouse gas footprint. The CO2 was taken from the air in growing the grapes in the first place, so it’s carbon neutral. For the time that CO2 is kept out of the air longer by capturing as bicarbonates this becomes carbon drawdown, but I don’t know how long that is.

  3. Pedro 6 years ago

    Does this mean we can expect to see wine flavoured toothpaste on the shelves? The french can have wine toothpaste by region and vintage as well. It will take a bit of getting used to having a breath tasting like the morning after a big night.

  4. Ron Barnes 6 years ago

    Try this after the gases have been bubbled through limestone Fines see if a wick goes out or burns brighter like I found. Because the flame did not go out, lets assume it works somehow.

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