This project provided rigorous estimates of the carbon storage potential of mafic and ultramafic rocks through the process of in-situ mineral carbonation. Mafic and ultramafic rocks contain low levels of silica and high levels of calcium-rich minerals that react with CO2 to form solid carbonate minerals, thus permanently isolating it from the atmosphere. The project involved two related, interdisciplinary parts: (1) geochemical experiments and modeling on individual minerals and rock assemblages to determine kinetics and thermodynamics of the main mineral carbonation reactions, and (2) geomechanical experiments and modeling to elucidate processes accompanying the carbonation reactions, such as flow and deformation, which can significantly alter the effective reaction rates in actual rock formations.
This project focused on the key chemical reactions that occur as a result of the injection of CO2 into both ultramafic/basaltic rocks and sedimentary rocks, including saline aquifers and petroleum reservoirs. Improved monitoring contributes to improved storage techniques thus reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Specifically, this project achieved its targets by: (1) evaluating the geochemical and geomechanical aspects of CO2 mineral carbonation, and (2) using mineral-fluid-organic reactions that create or reduce porosity and may catalyze the in situ reduction of CO2 to organic compounds.
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