Air Clean Up

  • Turning carbon emissions into bricks could help reduce air pollution and provide a green material for construction

Air pollution could become building material thanks to new pilot project

Oct 01 2013 Comments 0

Carbon emissions could soon be stored permanently within bricks that can then be used within the construction industry. New research, taking place in a pilot plant at the University of Newcastle in Australia, will be trialling new processes that could help reduce air pollution by storing emissions created by the burning of fossil fuels.

A new mineral carbonation research plant is to be constructed at the University of Newcastle and will be used to look at ways of storing carbon emissions. The research aims to trial processes that may be able to turn air pollution into carbonate rock, which could then be used as a construction material.

If successful, not only will a new way of storing emissions, and therefore working to halt climate change, be created, but a new type of sustainable building material will be created that could have a number of different uses. 

The four-year project has secured AUS$9 (£5.2 million) million of funding from research company Orica and the New South Wales and Australian governments. The funding will cover the initial construction of the pilot plant and the research into using mineral carbonation techniques to store carbon emissions. Mineral Carbonation International (MCI) will be managing the project.

Mineral carbonation technology is used to accelerate the natural process of carbon sink, which makes carbonates inert. This means that they cannot affect the atmosphere and lead to climate change. The process will make a base product that is very similar to baking soda, but will then be turned into solid 'bricks' that could then be suitable for construction purposes. The overall idea is that the carbon dioxide becomes a useful item and is not just stored.

It is hoped that the pilot plant will result in technology that could be used within coal fired plants around the world to capture carbon dioxide emissions and transform them into a useful product. This could greatly decrease the amount of air pollution that is released into the atmosphere, which could both improve air quality in industrial areas and help towards reducing the effects of climate change.

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