Eastern Section Meeting

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Adopting Nanotechnology For Carbon Sequestration: Application of Magnesium Silicates for Carbon Capture and Storage

Abstract

This study focuses on the use Magnesium Silicate to sequester Carbon dioxide at the Nano scale. Carbon sequestration is the capture and secure storage of carbon that would otherwise be emitted to, or remain in the atmosphere. Its aim is to mitigate climate change and its effects caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Silicon and Magnesium are the 8th and 9th most abundant elements on Earth respectively. Therefore they are readily available and their use as a compound for carbon sequestration is effective and safer as there is minimal pollution of underground water sources and the atmosphere due to storage related impact.

The mode of application would be as molecular sieves for adsorption and as natural sinks. Hydrous Magnesium Silicates when reacted with Carbon dioxide form Magnesium carbonate, Nanotechnology would ensure more surface area per volume for the molecular sieves. Nanotechnology is the Science, engineering and technology conducted at the at the Nano scale (about 1 to 100 Nano meters). It involves the ability to see and control individual atoms and molecules. Around each atom a ‘sphere of impermeability’ can be described beyond which no other matter can penetrate under usual conditions. Using layered molecular sieves of Magnesium Silicate would allow creation of Nano scale junctions between materials where reactions can take place. Carbon dioxide captured through other processes such as absorption or cryogenic fractionation can be stored in Magnesium Silicate rich rock formations as a way of enhancing natural sinks. Micro porous membranes engineered at the Nano scale using Magnesium Silicates can also be used to capture and store carbon at Carbon dioxide sources. Future opportunities for Carbon dioxide capture may arise from producing hydrogen fuels from carbon rich feed stocks such as natural gas, coal and biomass. The molecular sieves and micro porous membranes should be used to sequester carbon in large stationary sources of Carbon dioxide which include fossil fueled power plants, refineries, cement manufacturing plants, ammonia production plants and in natural gas wells.