Pilot plant to trial new carbon capture technology that converts CO2 into bricks

Aug 28, 2013
$9 million for pilot plant to trial new carbon capture technology

A new method for permanently and safely storing carbon emissions generated from fossil fuels and other industrial processes will be trialled in a mineral carbonation research pilot plant to be built at the University of Newcastle.

The ultimate goal is to transform the captured CO2 emissions into carbonate rock 'bricks' for use in the construction industry, therefore both dealing with needs and introducing new green building materials.

Funding totalling $9m has been secured from the Australian and NSW governments and Orica. The project will be managed by Mineral Carbonation International, a partnership between the University's commercial arm Newcastle Innovation, the GreenMag Group and Orica.

A multidisciplinary research team, including Professors Bodgan Dlugogorski and Eric Kennedy from the University's Priority Research Centre for Energy and Orica Senior Research Associate Dr Geoff Brent, have demonstrated the technology in small scale laboratory settings and led the funding bids.

Professor Dlugogorski said the research pilot plant would allow for larger scale testing and determine cost savings and compared to other methods of storing CO2.

"The key difference between geosequestration and ocean storage and our mineral carbonation model is we permanently transform CO2 into a usable product, not simply store it underground," Professor Dlugogorski said.

The mineral carbonation technology replicates the Earth's carbon sink mechanism by combining CO2 with low grade minerals such as magnesium and calcium to make inert carbonates. The process transforms the CO2 into a solid product that can be used in many ways, including as new green building materials.

"The Earth's natural mineral carbonation system is very slow," Professor Kennedy said. "Our challenge is to speed up that process to prevent CO2 emissions accumulating in the air in a cost-effective way."

The research is the result of six years of R&D undertaken by a team including experts from the University of Newcastle, the GreenMag Group and Orica.

It will be built at the University's Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and is expected to be operational by 2017.

Explore further: Ammonium salts could provide viable way of removing carbon dioxide from atmosphere via carbon mineralization

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Evaluating the seismic risk of mineral carbon sequestration

Mar 15, 2013

Geologic carbon sequestration, in which carbon is captured and stored underground, has been proposed as one way to mitigate the climatic effects of carbon dioxide emissions. One method of geologic carbon sequestration is ...

Green potential of our industrial past

Feb 02, 2012

Manipulating the soil in urban and industrial areas in order to capture more carbon from the atmosphere is the “best resource we have to begin to mitigate human CO2 emissions”, experts claim.

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Aryeh_Z
not rated yet Aug 28, 2013
So, someone actually wants to bring coals to Newcastle.

More news stories

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...