(808d) Direct Capture and Conversion of CO2 From Flue Gas Via Ex-Situ Mineral Carbonation Using Chemical and Biological Catalysts

Swanson, E. J., Columbia University
Brady, P. V., Sandia National Laboratories
Park, A. H. A., Columbia University

Converting carbon dioxide from flue gas directly into a solid magnesium carbonate presents a compelling option for the mitigation of power plant emissions. The carbonate product is environmentally benign and thermodynamically stable, thus creating a safe and reliable alternative to geological storage. However, given the low partial pressure of carbon dioxide in flue gas and the low reactivity of magnesium bearing minerals, achieving the kinetics required to make such a process feasible is challenging. In addition, magnesium carbonates formed at low temperature tend to incorporate significant waters of hydration, which increases transportation requirements and limits utilization of by-products. Each of these issues was addressed in the design of a multistep process for the conversion of magnesium silicates to carbonates as a carbon capture and storage option. The mineral dissolution reaction is accelerated using a mixture of organic chelating agents to produce a concentrated magnesium solution. This acceleration appears to occur through a stabilization effect on the pores formed as the silicate dissolves. The concentrated magnesium solution produced during the dissolution of the silicate is used to drive the precipitation of carbonates directly from flue gas. Through strict control over the chemistry of a simultaneous absorption and precipitation process, the phase of magnesium carbonate formed can be controlled. In addition, the mass transfer rate of carbon dioxide from flue gas into the precipitating liquor is accelerated using biological catalysis, which is shown to provide significant savings in process equipment size and operating parameters. Finally, the process as a whole is demonstrated to have a negative overall carbon balance through life cycle assessment.