Study finds carbon-capture minerals

The Energy Technologies Institute is to carry out a detailed study of the availability and distribution of suitable minerals across the UK that could be used to economically capture and store carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions.

A consortium led by Caterpillar and including Shell, the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage at Nottingham University, has been selected to carry out the £1m project.

The consortium aims to provide a detailed assessment of the distribution of suitable materials together with an estimate of how much of these could practically be used and ultimately provide an indication of the economics of CO2 capture by mineralisation.

The leading technology for carbon capture and storage (CCS) involves capturing carbon-dioxide gas then storing it underground in oil and gas reservoirs, and other porous areas. But CCS by mineralisation has been identified by researchers as a promising additional method of sequestering CO2 emissions.

Minerals and CO2 can react together to permanently store CO2 as a solid carbonate product, which can then be stored, used as an aggregate or turned into useful end products such as bricks or filler for concrete. The project team will explore these and other opportunities for value-added use of the resulting carbonate products.

ETI chief executive Dr David Clarke said: ’We have already announced a project looking at the potential storage capacity for CO2 under the sea, but mineralisation provides a possible alternative solution. Mineralisation potentially provides a permanent storage method - the CO2 could be converted into a useful end product and it could provide an opportunity to use waste materials to capture the carbon dioxide or be used in areas where local geological storage is not available.’