‘Mineral carbonation for permanent CO2 storage’ (Nicolas Bompard)

Nicolas Bompard is a 2nd year PhD at the National Oceanography Centre, looking at the Oman ophiolites as a way of combating the rising global mean surface temperatures due to CO2 antropogenic emissions.

Carbon cycle
Naturally, this cycle is balanced. The humans have added three points that are not balanced: land use, hydrocarbons, and cemetery –> increases the CO2 in the atmosphere. Carbon taken from the long-term (millions of years) aspect of cycle into the short-term.

Without some green house gases, the mean temp would be -20C, rather than 15C

“Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emission of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.” -From the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report.

There are parts of the cycle that no longer need fossil fuels to continue. Like dominoes, the process has already started and it doesn’t matter if we pick the first ‘domino’ back up. Alternatives need to be considered, such as carbon capture and storage.

Carbon Capture and Storage
Immediate storage of carbon is needed rather than letting it go into atmosphere. There are currently three different types of carbon storage being tested:
Geological Storage
– What is it?: The filling of rocks with carbon
– Pros: the technology is known and used already, storage capacity is sufficient
– Cons: leakage hazards; monitoring needed, which costs a lot of money
Ocean Storage
– What is it?: The dissolving of CO2 into the ocean
– Pros: it requires a simple mechanism, storage capacity sufficient;
– Cons: environmental hazards—CO2 is an acid, so things in the ocean will die;
monitoring is needed; residence time is uncertain, it is not always stable
Mineral Carbonation
– What is it? A process that naturally occurs during rock weathering
– Pros: a stable storage form, low or no monitoring needed, worldwide
distribution; storage is virtually unlimited
– Cons: mechanisms are poorly known, technology is in experimental stage

 

To do list:
1. Enhance our knowledge of mineral carbonation mechanisms
2. Find ways of engineering mineral carbonation
3. Develop an industrial-friendly technology
4. Save the world!

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