CO2 may be Removed from the Atmosphere


Magnesite is the mineral which has the ability to store carbon dioxide, and scientist has found a quick way to produce it. The global warming effect of atmospheric CO2 can be minimized in this way if developed to an industrial scale.

How the magnesite works

This technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is being worked on by scientists, but it is shown in practical limits. Finally, researchers came with an explanation of how magnesite is formed at low temperatures in a way that its crystallization can be accelerated. Even though 500 kg of CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere with a tonne of magnesite, the natural one forms too slow.

According to Professor Ian Power from Trent University, Ontario, Canada, the project leader:

“Our work shows two things. Firstly, we have explained how and how fast magnesite forms naturally. This is a process which takes hundreds to thousands of years in nature at Earth’s surface. The second thing we have done is to demonstrate a pathway which speeds this process up dramatically.”

The researchers proved that magnesite could form within 72 days with polystyrene microspheres used as a catalyst. The microspheres can be reused because the production process does not change it.

“Using microspheres means that we were able to speed up magnesite formation by orders of magnitude. This process takes place at room temperature, meaning that magnesite production is extremely energy efficient.”

“It is really exciting that this group has worked out the mechanism of natural magnesite crystallization at low temperatures, as has been previously observed—but not explained—in weathering of ultramafic rocks. The potential for accelerating the process is also important, potentially offering a benign and relatively inexpensive route to carbon storage, and perhaps even direct CO2 removal from air,” Peter Kelemen professor at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory from New York said.


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