Industrial NETs using alkaline materials

IDRIC Project 8.2

 
Heriot Watt University
Research Centre for Carbon Solutions

Background

Geochemical NETs are technologies which use alkaline minerals, such as natural Mg- and Ca-rich rocks, industrial minerals such as slag, to remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it as carbonate minerals or ocean bicarbonate. 

To achieve net-zero emissions targets it will be necessary to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to offset residual emissions. This project will explore negative emission technology (NETs) vectors that could be deployed by industrial clusters.

Dr Phil Renforth

Dr Phil Renforth

Principal Investigator
Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Project Team

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University:

Dr James Campbell
Dr Mijndert Van der Spek
Dr Mohammad Madankan

Aim

Focusing on NETs relevant to the industrial sector, we will explore how alkaline materials (e.g., lime, cement, and waste slag) can be used to capture atmospheric CO2. This project will specifically:  

  • Investigate key fundamental chemical processes that underpin the reaction of these materials with CO2, which will enable the design and optimisation of chemically engineered systems 
  • Map the production of these materials across the UK, assess their CO2 capture potential, and their possible benefit and enabling activities for industrial clusters
  • Explore how alkaline materials may be purposefully made for reaction with atmospheric CO2 

This is part of a global academic and industrial programme of activity to explore, develop, assess and incentivise NETs, the UK is already world leading in this space from previously funded UKRI programmes. However, this agenda has, until now, been considered in isolation from industrial decarbonisation. The co-development of NETs with industry is essential for their scalable deployment, and for meeting net-zero emission targets. 

More Detail

The map below shows the location of potential resources for alkaline materials in the UK. The materials include silicate waste fines from quarries extracting basic silicate rocks, iron and steel-making slag from current and previous steel works and cement kilns dust (CKD) from currently operating cement kilns or landfilled CKDs.

Alkaline Material Map

Meet the Team

 

Team 1

Dr James Campbell

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr Mijndert Van der Spek

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr Mohammad Madankan

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr James Campbell

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr Mijndert Van der Spek

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr Mohammad Madankan

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions, Heriot-Watt University

Case Study / Progress

Photograph of molten steel slag disposal. The alkaline slag is rich in calcium which can be used to capture and store CO2 as part of industrial decarbonisation

slag

Planned Outputs

Over the next few decades mineral carbonation NETs are expected to grow from kilotons of CO2 removed per year, to megatons and eventually gigatons. For a company to receive carbon credits, newly formed carbonate minerals will need to be identified to ensure they are stable, and quantified to ensure the correct number of carbon credits are allocated. This is achieved using common qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques. However, there is a need for a standardized set of approaches to enable companies, and regulators, to precisely and accurately determine the amount of CO2 that has been captured and stored by these alkaline materials. We are working on producing a standardized protocol to fulfil this need. Furthermore, our group will undertake experimentation to quantify rates of CO2 uptake under a range of experimental conditions. We will use these experimental data to create conceptual designs of technologies, and broadly assess the technoeconomics of these approaches. We will also produce a map and database of alkaline materials in the UK to help asses the opportunities for NETs

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