Wyly Wade

Turning CO2 into Rocks

Space-filling model of the part of the crystal...

An 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 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.


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