Air conservationCarbon captureSustainable heating

Offsetting your carbon footprint with soap

CleanO2 developed a micro-scale carbon-capture technology that converts CO2 generated by commercial heating systems into soap

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Back in 2005, when global warming was appearing in the news less than nowadays, Jaeson Cardiff had one absurd idea in mind: to create a device able to absorb CO2 generated by furnaces and boilers, while increasing their efficiency at the same time. 15 years later this pioneering carbon-capture device is real and, besides catching the renowned greenhouse gas, it is also producing a valuable good out of it: soap.

CleanO2 is the Calgary-based company that Jaeson Cardiff co-founded in 2013, and that is starting to distribute the first CO2-based soap in Canada and the US. A fresh new clean-tech business that has already received many awards. It won the ‘Best Emerging Clean Technology’ award at the Global Petroleum Show 2018 and was among the 2019 Energy Excellence Awards Champions under the category ‘Innovation and Research Excellence’. Currently it is one of the finalists of the 2019 Nature Inspiration Awards under the category ‘Business (Small and Medium)’.

Why micro-scale heating systems?

Jaeson Cardiff speaking at the Calgary TED Talk in 2018. Courtesy of CleanO2
Jaeson Cardiff speaking at the Calgary TED Talk in 2018. Courtesy of CleanO2

The core concept behind CleanO2 is the same as that of another Canadian company we talked about some time ago, Pond Tech: generating value out of carbon dioxide. While Pond Tech achieves this by feeding algae with unfiltered emissions that come straight from virtually any industrial smokestacks, CleanO2 has specialized on a very specific source of emissions, that is micro-scale commercial heating systems, typically furnaces and boilers. Why focusing on such a (seemingly) narrow sector?

Before becoming the co-founder and CEO of CleanO2, Jaeson Cardiff was a skilled heating technician, who spent 20 years working and innovating in the field. As he explained in the TED talk he gave in Calgary in 2018, one day, while reading an article on a magazine, he realized that much attention was paid to emissions caused by the power-generation and the automotive industry, while the heating industry was neglected. And this is a shame in his view, as according to Statistics Canada heating alone is responsible for about 15% total CO2 emissions in the North-America country, while globally around 50% of them was caused by electricity and heat production combined in 2014 (source: The World Bank, also reported on Our World in Data).

Potash from a CARBiNX unit. Courtesy of CleanO2
Potash from a CARBiNX unit. Courtesy of CleanO2

On the other hand, Jaeson Cardiff knew that heating-system manufacturers were not aiming to directly decrease appliances’ emissions, but rather to maximize their efficiency. Which is already something, but the Canadian inventor believed that more could be done not only to reduce heat waste, but also to actively catch carbon dioxide. And what is more, focusing on the single, micro-scale emission points, which are numerous and, as a consequence, more difficult to deal with than large ones in terms of emissions control.

It turned out that the basic technology to achieve this goal was already available somehow. On the one hand heat exchangers to recover heat and minimize its dispersion. On the other hand, a well-known reactant used in the heating industry, able to combine with CO2 to create heat itself, plus potash (potassium carbonate), whose possible applications are enormous, from concrete manufacturing to glass and, of course, detergents. So it was a matter of creating a real-world machine out of these components.

After 12 years of research and development, Jaeson Cardiff’s team came out with ‘CARBiNX C1’, a device that reduces greenhouse emissions by 20%, saves up to 20% in energy costs through heat recovery, and is aimed to be installed in light commercial or industrial locations or concentrated residential. Each device can catch between 8 and 10 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

And at the time of writing CleanO2 announced that ‘the new CARBiNX version 3.3 is just about ready to begin the assembly process. These new units are more efficient in their ability to process CO2’, they are being produced in cooperation with Allied Metal and they are equipped with an IoT platform for remote monitoring.

And why soap?

CleanO2 soap for ATCO gas. Courtesy of CleanO2
CleanO2 soap for ATCO gas. Courtesy of CleanO2

So yes, as you guessed the by-product of CleanO2 carbon-capture technology, potash, is precisely what allows the company to produce soap and detergents. And once carbon gets sequestrated in them, it is not released anymore. As the company points out, ‘once the soap is washed away, the carbon dioxide remains locked into the salt, rendering it harmless’.

CleanO2 produces and sells two types of hand soap infused with potassium carbonate, with and without activated charcoal. Besides soap bars, the catalog includes liquid hand soap, liquid car wash detergent and surface cleaner powder. All products are available both in Canada and in the US, and they can be bought in various retail points as well as on the company’s website.

According to the business model adopted by CleanO2, once the device is installed not only the client can save from $600 to $1000 USD a year in energy saving, he can also gain from $2000 to $2500 USD a year in profit sharing.

Introducing CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technologies. Courtesy of CleanO2

How to support

  • Are you interesed in installing some CARBiNX units in your apartment block? Or maybe in the nearby hospital or school? Contact CleanO2 team to know more, start reducing your bill and sharing profits!
  • A great way to support CleanO2 and get involved is to buy their soap and detergent products, check them out on the Canadian company’s website or ask for them in your local store!
  • You can follow CleanO2 on
  • You can support Pond Tech even by simply sharing this article on your favorite social networks. Spread the word!

2 thoughts on “Offsetting your carbon footprint with soap

  1. Great article!
    Building heating is quite a large source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and particularly in Calgary. In this city, approximately 2/3 of our total community-wide GHG inventory arises from the operation of buildings (both electricity and natural gas), and likely about half of that is from heating. Every building is connected to the natural gas distribution network, and to change that heating fuel source once a building is constructed is difficult and costly. And buildings are very long-lived assets, so once a building starts burning natural gas it will continue to do so for 50 to 100 years. In terms of climate change and GHG emissions reductions, this is a big problem and a hard nut to crack. The CleanO2 system takes a different approach than just trying to increase efficiency. The post-combustion carbon scrubber can be installed on any existing (or new) building, while the building owner gets to keep their existing heating system. The owner benefits from heat recovery that reduces fuel expenditure on domestic hot water heating, the carbon dioxide is converted into a value-added product, and the environment benefits from reduction in GHG emissions.

  2. Many thanks for your comment Warren! The concept behind CleanO2 is really brilliant, and the whole story of the company (and of what led to it) is inspiring. Another proof that sustainability can pave the way to an infinite number of new development opportunities, if we are able to think holistically and outside the box!

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