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A team of researchers led by Dr. Guy Mercier, of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique in Quebec, is developing a process that would see steel, coal and cement plants as well as oil and gas facilities remove most of the CO2 from their emissions through chemical reactions with crushed rocks, pulverized cement or mine tailings.
The researchers are developing an economically attractive process that will be tested at pilot scale and could easily be integrated into existing facilities using simple and abundant rocks, waste concrete or mine tailings. These materials are crushed into a powder and then chemically reacted with the flue gas. The resulting chemical reaction removes 80 per cent of the CO2 from flue gas.
The process forms carbonates, benign but valuable by-products that can be sold to a variety of industries for use as a refractory material or as an alkaline agent in waste water treatment. Companies could potentially realize a profit while sequestering CO2.
A pilot plant will be installed at the Holcim (Canada) inc. cement plant in Joliette,QC and used to adapt and improve the process. All tests at the pilot plant will be conducted in a safe, controlled and well-monitored environment.
$300,000/2 years; Awarded 2012
This technology will allow companies within cement, steel and other industries to reduce CO2 emissions so they can meet regulatory requirements and/or sell emission credits. As ultramafic material is abundant in many places around the world, a good portion of the CO2 released worldwide could be sequestered by this process.
This is a lower cost, low pressure and low temperature technology which does not rely upon the capture of purified CO2. The use of waste heat from industrial processes will allow better energy efficiency and further decrease operation costs.
This new process would benefit a number of industries—including steel, coal, cement, and oil and gas—by allowing them to remove most of the CO2 from their emissions. The process is economically attractive and easily integrated into existing facilities as it adapts and improves on the process whereby CO2 reacts with different minerals to form carbonates.
Holcim (Canada) inc.: The pilot plant will be installed at its Joliette cement plant. Holcim (Canada) is a member of the Holcim Group, a leading global producer and supplier of cement and building materials.
SIGMA DEVTECH is contributing funding and in-kind support to the project. It is working with Alfa Laval Canada, a world class equipment manufacturer, for process development.
The project aims to develop, at the pilot scale, a technology that sequesters carbon dioxide at the chimney of large industrial emitters. The primary outcome is a cost effective and practical approach to the sequestration of CO2 in a mineral form.
The technology can be applied to other industries across Canada and the world. It could also be applied in underground sequestration of CO2 in ultramafic rocks.
This project is based on the direct carbonation process: the direct reaction between a mineral material and a CO2 bearing material. Researchers are working on two ways to achieve carbon mineralization: direct carbonation in dry and in wet (aqueous) conditions.
This process will use various non-homogenous materials containing divalent cations (Ca, Mg, Fe) and, among them, various mining residues containing magnesium or calcium silicates, waste concrete and other ultramafic rocks.
About 952 million tons of CO2 can be sequestered using the 2 Gt of mining residues bearing magnesium silicates available in Canada. The ultramafic rocks in the Southern Quebec region (500Gt) would allow a further 50 Gt of CO2 to be fixed as carbonate. The use of waste concrete will further increase sequestration capacity. In Japan alone, 35 million tonnes of waste concrete are produced per year.
Mineral carbonation using waste concrete will be carried out at the laboratory scale and after optimization of the process parameters, the process will be studied at pilot scale.
Working with industry partners, a location for the pilot plant will be identified and built with a 20-liter reactor to treat flue gas at the chimney.
The magnetic separation will be evaluated using magnetic separators to get a Fe, Cr, Ni oxide concentrate as a potential valuable by-product and to avoid possible metallic pollution in the final carbonated product.
An economic study will establish capital costs and direct and indirect operating costs for exploiting both dry and wet mineral carbonation processes.
To read more about the project, click here