Year/Course: 2009-2010, Easter 2010
Project type: Taster

Contacts: Derek Fray, Materials Science, & Michael Priestnall, Cambridge Carbon Capture
Mentor: Dr. Nicky Athanassopoulou

Professor Derek Fray and his team in the Department of Materials Science, in partnership with Cambridge Carbon Capture, is investigating novel chemistry and electrochemistry to cost-effectively capture and sequester CO2 from fossil fuel power generation as a solid carbonate mineral. Compared to storage of liquefied CO2, the advantage of this type of approach to carbon capture and storage is that CO2 can be locked-away permanently from the atmosphere without risk of dangerous release. The greatest challenge for CO2 mineralisation is to develop processes that do not add significantly to the cost of energy.

One way that the overall cost can be minimised, is for the material used to react with the CO2 to be a waste from another industrial process, so that the power company can either obtain it free of charge or even be paid for removing it. The process as currently envisaged will need sources of fine particulate magnesium and/or calcium silicate materials, but can be adapted to the level of purity of the industrial waste.

The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate the sources of such industrial waste materials and their current methods of disposal, to see if there is commercial viability in using them for carbon capture techniques to create a useful carbonate product.