Home » ADNOC wants to turn CO2 into solid minerals—how does that work?

ADNOC wants to turn CO2 into solid minerals—how does that work?

by Dubaiforum

ADNOC’s plan to permanently mineralize CO2 is among the grand and ambitious visions demonstrated at this year’s World Government Summit in Dubai.

 Basalt is a hard, black volcanic rock that is commonly considered as targets CO2 mineralization.

This year’s World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai has seen many grand and ambitious plans. Although ADNOC’s (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) project of permanently mineralizing carbon (CO2) does not sound as bald as putting flying taxis in the sky or building an urban highway in Dubai, it is a challenging project that is worth expecting.

At a panel discussion on the “Global Governance of Large-scale Climate Change Mitigation Technologies” at WGS, ADNOC announced that the project will use an Earthshot prize-winning Carbon Capture and Mineralization (CCM) technology from the Omani carbon removal startup 44.01 to permanently mineralize CO2. Part of ADNOC’s $15-billion investment from now until 2030 on low carbon solutions, this project is set to help the company achieve its Net Zero ambition by 2050.

But how?

Carbon mineralization is the process of turning CO2 into a solid mineral, such as carbonate. It is a chemical reaction that happens when certain rocks are exposed to CO2. Most of these rocks are igneous and metamorphic, which means they are commonly crystalline and rarely contain spaces between grains.

There are generally two types of rocks commonly considered for CO2 mineralization. One is basalt, a hard and black volcanic rock. The other is ultramafic rocks, which are a broad category of rocks that have extremely high amounts of magnesium and iron. In the UAE, peridotite is one of the ultramafic rocks and is abundant in Fujairah, where ADNOC is going to carry out its CO2 mineralization project. Laboratory experiments have found that ultramafic rocks have the fastest reaction times when they meet CO2.

The process of mineralizing CO2 follows three steps. First, CO2 will be captured from the air. Then, it will be dissolved in seawater. Lastly, it will be injected into peridotite formations deep underground. This way, the mineralized carbon cannot escape back into the atmosphere.

Alternatively, there is another method to mineralize CO2, which is commonly called mine tailing. The process is to expose broken rocks to CO2 at the surface, such as leftovers from mining.

However, the cost per ton to mineralize that carbon is not cheap. It is estimated that mine tailing, for already mined sites, would cost around $8 per metric ton of CO2. Whereas carbon mineralization through injection in deep underground basaltic formations could cost around $30 per metric ton of CO2. No estimates have been made yet for storage in ultramafic rocks.


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