Research

Mineral carbonation may lower carbon emissions

ScCO2 device
The new project studies the carbon capture potential of the side streams of mining industry. In the future, there is potential to use the method to lower the carbon emissions of industry.

The K.H. Renlund’s Foundation funded several research fields, including environment research, sustainability, ore geology, mine technology, and geophysics. The call for the 2021 funding period collected 97 applications totaling nearly 3 million euros. The Foundation decided to allocate funding for 47 projects with a total sum of 986,408 €. It means that 48 % of applications could be funded.

Arnold Ismailov from Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences was granted 25,070€ for a circular economy of materials project called “Study of mineral carbonation by accelerated wollastonite weathering in supercritical carbon dioxide”. Finland is a globally significant exporter of wollastonite (CaSiO3) which is produced as a part of limestone extraction. Large amounts of wollastonite-rich tailings, effectively a waste fraction, are produced as a side stream.

Wollastonite, among other similar silicates, very slowly deteriorates into silicate and carbonates under atmospheric conditions. The aim of this study is to find means to accelerate this otherwise slow natural weathering to a point where it could be used for targeted carbon capture and storage (CCS) in an industrial process chain. The centerpiece of this research is a supercritical carbon dioxide device, in which the weathering process can be accelerated from geological timescale to hours or even minutes. This provides a reasonable timescale to study the effects of different pretreatments and impurity minerals on the carbon capture potential of wollastonite under several combinations of pressure and temperature.

K.H. Renlund’s Foundation: https://khrenlund.fi/en/news/project-2018/

Photo: Jonne Renvall, Tampere University

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