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Carbon Mineralization

Carbon Mineralization Overview:


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Carbon management can be achieved by permanently storing captured carbon in natural systems or other resources via carbon mineralization processes.  Carbon mineralization is the process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) precipitates into carbonate minerals when exposed to silicate minerals enriched with calcium (Ca) or magnesium (Mg), non-silicate mineral reactants, or enzyme catalysis with appropriate cations (e.g., CO2 laden with brines). Natural resources for carbon mineralization which are highly reactive with CO2 include natural brines and mafic/ultramafic rocks and minerals.  In addition, waters produced during subsurface mineral or element extraction processes and other alkaline industrial waste products are similar in composition to ultramafic minerals (e.g., wollastonite) and would directly or indirectly react with CO2 to yield carbon-trapping minerals or would otherwise support mineralization of CO2. These types of carbon mineralization processes offer a means to store CO2 in various geologic settings, including within significant basalt formations. 

The Carbon Mineralization Program is dedicated to developing resource assessments for carbon management focusing on: 

  • Analyzing potential feedstocks for ex-situ and surficial carbon mineralization;
  • Analyzing potential sites for in-situ carbon mineralization; 
  • Investigating novel, proof-of-principle processes for carbon mineralization; and
  • Optimizing carbon mineralization via fundamental research on kinetics, rock mechanics, and methodology (new technologies and various conditions).  

Projects in the Carbon Mineralization Program support the resource assessments by:

  • Identifying and analyzing Ca- or Mg-enriched deposits; 
  • Performing geochemical and kinematic analysis; 
  • Defining source characteristics of materials (e.g., location, accessibility, volume, concentration, reaction rates); 
  • Analyzing carbon mineralization with various materials at various relevant conditions.
  • Calculating predicted carbon uptake, duration, and long-term fate of stored CO2
  • Optimizing the carbon mineralization process to improve CO2 uptake; 
  • Analyzing various materials and processes at diverse expected in-situ conditions, optimizing and estimating CO2 uptake; and 
  • Analyzing and comparing materials and reagents at various conditions.  

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