Carbon Capture and Utilization By Three-Step Aqueous Phase Mineralization

Innovations of Green Process Engineering for Sustainable Energy and Environment
AIChE Annual Meeting
November 7, 2013 - 10:00am-10:15am

The increase in greenhouse gasses concentration in the atmosphere has contributed to global warming in recent decades. Carbon sequestration is one of the solutions to control the CO2 concentration in atmosphere.  A pH-swing mineral carbonation is the process of extracting magnesium or calcium from mineral rock, followed by precipitation of extracted minerals in separate reactors. The process was found to be feasible method for potential industrial application to reduce CO2 emission by carbon sequestration. This study investigates production of value-added materials for a three-series mineralization reactor in aqueous phase. Magnesium, iron and small portions of some other minerals were extracted from magnesium silicate rock, were precipitated in two steps by increasing the pH from 0.5 up to 10. Product analysis showed that in each step, high purity stable solids such as silica, iron hydroxide II and III, hydrated magnesium carbonate were produced. The CO2 source was Na2CO3 which was the product generated from the scrubbing reaction between a power plant's flue gas and NaOH to serve as a potential carbon capture method. Mass balance for the mineral sequestration process was investigated for future scale up. CO2 uptake was determined by magnesium carbonate elemental analysis.  It was calculated that for each ton of sequestrated CO2 approximately 3.22 ton of serpentine rock (mainly (Mg3Si2O5(OH)4) was required and also 25 m3 of 1M NaOH, 35 m3 of 1M Na2CO3 and 80 m3 of 1M HCl were utilized. The resultant value-added products from the process would be 3.1 ton of 99.74% pure nesquehonite (Mg2CO3∙3H2O) and 0.82 ton of iron oxide and hydroxide with 90% purity. Crystalline structure, particle size distribution and morphology of hydrated magnesium carbonate produced, were strongly dependent on the last precipitation reactor conditions including temperature, feeding flow rate, mixing speed and base concentration. Additionally, different composition and crystalline structure of magnesium carbonate produced in the last precipitation step in different temperature ranging 0 to 60 ºC, shows that the process is capable of producing value-added products including nesquehonite, hydromagnesite and dypingite under a wide range of ambient temperature.  In future investigations, carbon footprint of the process chain will be studied.

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