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How rocks could reduce cement plant emissions

World Cement,

Carbon Management Canada is to provide $300 000 of funding for research into a new carbon sequester technology over the next two years. Dr Guy Mercier, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), will be leading the investigation in collaboration with an international team of researchers, the University of Calgary and the University of Melbourne. The research will look into the development of a process that aims to reduce CO2 emissions from cement, oil and gas plants by introducing crushed rocks into the stacks. It hopes to enhance the reaction process that takes places between the CO2 and the minerals in the rocks, which then forms carbonates. These carbonate byproducts can be sold to various industries for use as a refractory material or as an alkaline agent in wastewater treatment.

“You take the waste material, the rock, concrete or mine tailings, and crush it to make a powder and then you send that powder up the chimney with the gas. The resulting chemical reaction removes 80% of the CO2,” explains Mercier.

“It’s a lower cost, low pressure, low temperature technology that doesn’t require capturing purified CO2,” Mercier says. “There are a lot of engineering challenges in this but we are well on our way to achieving success.”

The research project has partnered with cement manufacturer Holcim Canada and SIGMA DEVTECH, a consulting firm for startups. The team will work with staff at a Holcim Canada cement plant to test the reactions between gas emissions and various magnesium and calcium rocks, which are available in mine tailings, in a chemical reactor.

Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham.

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