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Turning CO2 into chalk and sand

New method could make carbon sequestration cheaper

11:01am, August 22, 2008

Removing carbon dioxide from smokestacks and storing it permanently is one of the possible solutions to global warming, but remains expensive to do. A new technique could make carbon sequestration economical on a large scale, while producing useful materials on the side.

Dirk Van Essendelft, a chemical engineer at PennsylvaniaStateUniversity in University Park, described the method on August 19 in Philadelphia during a meeting of the American Chemical Society. He proposed a new way to mix CO2 with a type of mineral called serpentine, producing sand and another common mineral similar to chalk.

Capturing the CO2 from smokestacks requires energy. Van Essendelft said that, according to his calculations, a power plant that captures its emissions for storage into serpentine would suffer only a 10 percent loss of energy. If the technique can be applied on a large scale, storing carbon in minerals would become competitive with other proposals for c

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