first_imgAn increasing amount of research is being done into how to capture and store carbon dioxide rather than continuing to pump it into the Earth’s atmosphere. Lowering levels by somehow storing it for long periods of time could limit any predicted climate change, but how do you go about doing that cost effectively?A research team comprised of members from the University of Newcastle in Australia, the Orica chemical company, and carbon innovation company GreenMag Group, believe they have a solution that not only stores carbon emissions, but turns them into a useful product.The team have spent six years researching carbon dioxide storage, and have come up with a way to turn it into a solid, permanent rock-like product that is then used to create building materials. Using a new $9 million manufacturing plant built in Newcastle, the team expect to start producing bricks as well as a range of other green building industry products.The reason to get excited about such a process is it gives companies an incentive to capture carbon dioxide in the first place. By doing so they can manufacture a new base material and products that can then be sold on for a profit. In the process they are permanently trapping carbon emissions.The process has already been proven on a small scale in a lab, with the experimental plant being the next stage in the process to move into mass production. The carbon dioxide is captured and then combined with low grade minerals, examples of which include magnesium and calcium silicate. This forms inert carbonates and turns the CO2 into a solid that forms the basis for a new building material.Depending on how well the system works on a large scale, any and all carbon-producing plants, e.g. coal-fired power stations, could be upgraded to capture and store their carbon emissions for manufacturing purposes. It also means new techniques for capturing carbon dioxide now have a way to reuse what they capture rather than figuring out how to store it instead.[Image credit: ecotist]last_img

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