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Removing CO2 from Plant Emissions Using Powdered Rocks

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Chemical reactions with different types of crushed rocks might help steel, coal and cement plants as well as gas and oil facilities to produce carbon dioxide- free emissions. This breakthrough process is being developed by a research group in Quebec.

The project is led by Dr. Guy Mercier, of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), at University of Calgary, in collaboration with researchers from University of Melborne and their industrial partners Holcim Canada and SIGMA DEVTECH.

This could be possible if carbonates are formed through the reaction of CO2 and various minerals. The scientists are working on developing and improving this process in order to comercialize the by-product.

According to the project leader, Dr. Guy Mercier, of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), the process could easily be integrated into already existing facilities, while the rocks could be derived from waste concrete or tailings from mines in the region. These otherwise unneeded rocks should be crushed into powder and sent up the chimney using gas. The reaction should remove as much as 80 % of the CO2.

The carbonate byproducts can also be sold to industries that use it for either refractory material or alkaline agent in wastewater treatment. Mercier is convinced that this process would not only reduce emissions and pollution, but it could also create jobs.

The new technology is cheap, it operates with low pressure at low temperatures and it does not require a prior capturing of purified CO2. Mercier is convinced that despite all challenges, the team is very close to success.

The experiments will be conducted in mine tailing mines of Holcim cement plant.

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