Scientists in Canada and Australia are coming up with more feasible ways to do away with captured carbon and are turning it into rock for permanent storage.
Although the two studies are seemingly unrelated, it is noteworthy that the idea is surfacing at this time in two separate parts of the world.
On one hand, researchers in Australia, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, are suggesting a new way of converting captured carbon dioxide into solid formations or rock forms.
According to them, their approach allows for easy integration into existing industrial processes and can break down CO2 to carbon instantly.
Carbon in rock form is cheaper, safer and more sustainable
The project utilizes thermal chemistry methods that are already well-known and widely applied in industry and does not require very high temperatures, which makes it easy to run on power from renewable energy sources.
Furthermore, turning captured CO2 into a solid as opposed to liquifying it and injecting it deep underground, as is practiced with most CCS technologies today, alleviates many of the engineering challenges associated with these solutions.
Last but not least, carbon in the form of a rock does not have the risk of leakage looming overhead and has many potential applications, including in construction.
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Meanwhile, on Canada’s west coast, a team of scientists from the Solid Carbon project are aiming to help mitigate climate change by capturing CO2 directly from the air (direct air capture or DAC), injecting it below the ocean floor and allowing the carbon to transform into rock over time.
The captured CO2 is to be stored in so-called basalt aquifers – porous basalt formations found deep under the ocean floor, where the CO2 is trapped and gradually dissolves in water.
Once dissolved, it can bind with minerals, such as magnesium and calcium to form carbonate rock.