February 1, 2023

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Turning carbon dioxide into rocks is a reality

Researchers at the Clean Energy Conversions Laboratory in Pennsylvania are converting carbon dioxide into rock using industrial waste provided by mines.

carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere

In an era of climate crisis, research on removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is very important. A SWOT sent by NASA checks how far the ocean will be able to continue absorbing carbon dioxide, and the synthetic paper invented in Chicago has 100 times more efficiency than the natural one. In contrast, at the PCEC lab, Peter Parras and his team are working to store the captured carbon dioxide in some way.

Basaras and colleagues’ lab focuses on carbon management technologies such as carbon capture and how these technologies can be applied at scale. The team sees huge environmental potential in using mine tailings, sand and ore mining tailings. In the laboratory, they determine the calcium and magnesium content of this waste and the best way to carbonate it using carbon dioxide. why are you doing that? And convert waste into safe and useful materials, such as magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate.

The process for producing such materials is complex but inexpensive and often emissions-neutral. The lab has already made contact with five industrial mines in the United States. It is hard to imagine the amount of waste they generate each year. The United States alone produces enough to fill 38 million Olympic-sized swimming pools each year. Waste rich in calcium and magnesium is brought into solution through a special process and then carbon dioxide is added under pressure. The resulting solid has many other uses besides keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

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What about those carbons?

Barras has always had a problem, but most solutions to the carbon dioxide problem have been limited to storing it or using it as a gas. Replacing it with a third, non-emission product is a promising third option, he and his colleagues say. The carbonate can be added to paper as a filler or to a building material to replace gravel in concrete, so the carbonate can be used in future construction.

As mentioned, the process is emission-free and will help mines that need to expand old landfills or build new ones to increase the amount of waste. The only issue is the scale at which this process has to take place. Mines already involved in the project seem interested in further collaborations with the scientists, but for their technology to be widely used there is still a lot of work to be done on the project.

Source: technology.org