A £1m project is underway that aims to identify areas in Britain that have suitable mineral deposits that can be used with new carbon capture and storage technology (CCS).
A consortium led by Caterpillar and including Shell, the British Geological Survey and Nottingham University’s Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage, was selected by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to carry out the project.
CCS technology being developed by Nottingham University allows carbon dioxide (CO2) to be locked inside rocks permanently, creating a solid carbonate product that can be stored or turned into useful product such as bricks or filler for concrete.
The latest project will map distribution of the CO2 sources, such as power plants and industrial facilities, and the necessary minerals across the UK that could be used to capture and store CO2 emissions.
The survey will provide an estimate of how many of these areas could practically be used and give an indication of the economics of CO2 capture using this technique, which is called mineralisation.
It will also identify the technologies that could be developed to meet the UK requirements and determine the viability of mineralisation compared to other CCS approaches.
The University’s Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage has developed cutting-edge technology that ’captures’ CO2 and stores it permanently in rocks. Consequently it is not released into the atmosphere and cannot contribute to global warming, reducing the impact of power stations and other large CO2 producers on the planet’s climate.
Dr David Clarke, chief executive of the ETI, said: ‘Much of the research in this field has concentrated on the chemistry involved. The ETI is looking at the opportunity to develop system solutions and identify the necessary technologies. 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.
‘The ETI is involved in projects across the whole area of heat, power, transport and infrastructure and this is another example of us addressing these complex issues to deliver large-scale engineering solutions.’
John Amdall, director of research at Caterpillar, said: ‘CO2 mineralisation permanently stores CO2 and has the potential for use in both large and small applications. Mineralisation also offers the potential of dramatically reducing the energy requirements and infrastructure requirements for CO2 capture and storage, thus making it a cost-effective possibility for CCS.’