Fundamental Studies of Mineral Carbonation with Application to CO2 Sequestration

Theme: Earth, Atmosphere & Ocean Processes

Primary Supervisor:

Devis Di Tommaso

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, QMUL

Devis Di Tommaso's Profile Picture

Project Description:

The Challenge: CO2 sequestration via aqueous formation of magnesite (MgCO3) is a promising carbon capture, utilization and storage technology, albeit limited by slow precipitation rates. Encouragingly, MgCO3 naturally crystallizes at near surface conditions; this process is, however, irreproducible in lab settings, thus industrially unprofitable (due to requisite high T and pCO2).
Proposed Solution: The synergy between computation (atomistic simulations & geochemical modelling) and experiment (neutron scattering, X-ray diffraction, spectroscopy & imaging) will reveal the molecular events driving MgCO3 crystallization at ambient pressure and low temperatures.
Outcomes include detailing mechanisms of magnesite nucleation, as well as resolving the role of solution composition and surface nanotopography on crystallization kinetics; this will Impact CO2 mineralization by identifying the conditions facilitating magnesite formation.

Policy Impact of Research:

Our project will represent the most evolved synergetic computational & experimental study worldwide tracking molecular events surrounding the formation of MgCO3 from solution (explicit resolution of solute/solvent separation, aggregation and interaction at the solid-solution interface). The aim is the discovery of conditions facilitating direct nucleation of anhydrous MgCO3 from ambient solution environments.

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