BellonaBrief: CO2 Utilisation by mineralisation – much ado about nothing


Authors: Keith Whiriskey

Publisher: Bellona Europa

No form of CO2 use should be considered a substitute for permanent geological storage of CO2. Some forms of CO2 use, such as EOR or EGR, can constitute or contribute to necessary CO2 removal infrastructure and therefore play a role in developing CO2 storage. However, other uses such as mineralisation do not appear to offer any such rationale as an alternative to geological CO2 storage. This brief takes a particular look at CO2 use through mineralisation.

The mineralisation of CO2 is a concept where CO2 is reacted with selected minerals to form a solid product. At first glance CO2 use through mineral reaction or mineralisation could be considered advantageous to CO2 storage: mineral carbonation offers the permanent storage of CO2 in usable and saleable products, while forgoing the need for CO2 pipelines and geological storage sites. However, CO2 mineralisation has some significant drawbacks that must be taken into account when assessing the technology’s potential to reduce CO2 emissions at necessary scale.

Of key concern are: scalability, large scale material handling, mining and landfilling (of both feedstock and output) and resulting life-cycle emissions, which are not yet well understood. Bellona sees a real danger in CO2 mineralisation – as with CO2 Capture and Utilisation (CCU) in general – becoming a distraction from the task at hand: reducing CO2 emissions.

While addressing these issues in more detail, this brief also outlines a case study with mineralisation with the naturally occurring and abundant mineral olivine. The case study measures the amount for feedstock needed to sequester a given amount of CO2, the CO2 sequestered in the resulting mineral, as well as the amount of mineral output and implications of undertaking this process.