Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carbon capture: Making use of minerals

23.05.2013
Ammonium salts could provide a viable way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via carbon mineralization

Removing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere may be essential to curb severe climate change. Possible, but expensive, methods include burying the gas underground between rock layers or ‘scrubbing’ the CO2 in power station cooling towers before it is released.

James Highfield at A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, together with co-workers at the National Junior College of Singapore and Åbo Akademi University in Finland, has now described a cheaper and more permanent solution that would prevent the CO2 escaping back into the atmosphere1,2.

Their work focused on using carbon mineralization, a process that involves a reaction between CO2 and minerals, such as magnesium silicates, to form solid carbonates. Mineralization occurs naturally between the atmosphere and rocks, and the carbonates remain geologically stable for millions of years. Crucially, plentiful raw materials would be available to conduct this type of CO2 removal on a vast scale.

Natural carbon mineralization is very slow, so scientists are working to accelerate the process in an energy-efficient and carbon-neutral way. Using ammonium salts and magnesium-silicate-rich serpentine rocks, Highfield and co-workers induced rapid carbon mineralization. They also found that milling the solids could convert serpentine directly into stable carbonate.

To accelerate the extraction of magnesium (as soluble sulfate) from serpentine, the researchers used ammonium sulfate. This reaction generates by-products such as iron oxide that may be useful for the steel industry. They trapped the leftover ammonia in water, and recycled this by-product in an aqueous wash with the magnesium solution to produce a mineral form of magnesium hydroxide called brucite. Finally, the researchers carbonated the brucite in a pressurized reactor. The heat generated by this exothermic process was recycled to help power the initial magnesium extraction.
A key aim throughout the processing was to recycle as much ammonium sulfate as possible. The final products, magnesites (magnesium carbonates), could also be useful. “Magnesites are commodities in their own right as smoke- and fire-retardants, and have potential for heavy-metal ion sequestration,” the team notes.

Highfield and co-workers discovered that the yield of recycled ammonium sulfate drops considerably at temperatures of 400–450 °C, although reactions at these temperatures produce the most brucite. They suggest that this may be rectified by either increasing the humidity during the process or performing the reaction at a lower temperature to extract an alternative mineral to brucite.

“By virtue of their rich chemistry with magnesium, ammonium salts are likely to become ubiquitous in the field of CO2 mineralization,” the team says.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences

Journal information

Highfield, J., Lim, H.-Q., Fagerlund, J. & Zevenhoven, R. Activation of serpentine for CO2 mineralization by flux extraction of soluble magnesium salts using ammonium sulfate. RSC Advances 2, 6535–6541 (2012).

Highfield, J., Lim, H.-Q., Fagerlund., J. & Zevenhoven, R. Mechanochemical processing of serpentine with ammonium salts under ambient conditions for CO2 mineralization. RSC Advances 2, 6542–6548 (2012).

A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6668
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>