Researchers have found a way to speed up the production of magnesite mineral at room temperature.
According to studies, the Earth’s average surface temperature has already risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century.
A massive chunk of this change is due to the increase in our carbon dioxide emissions. What’s more alarming was that the warmest years of our planet have all occurred within the last three decades.
However, a team of researchers might have found the solution to the problem posed by atmospheric carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions.
In a research study presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Boston by scientists from the Trent University in Ontario, they claimed that they had found a way to accelerate the production of the magnesite mineral.
Magnesite is a mineral that has the capability to store carbon dioxide. Should the team’s research be developed to an industrial scale, it might pave the way for CO2 to be removed from our planet’s atmosphere.
“Our work shows two things. Firstly, we have explained how and how fast magnesite forms naturally. This is a process which takes hundreds to thousands of years in nature at Earth’s surface. The second thing we have done is to demonstrate a pathway which speeds this process up dramatically,” Professor Ian Power, the project’s leader from the Trent Univesity, said in a statement.
The team has reportedly used polystyrene microspheres as catalysts which sped up the formation of magnesite within just 72 days. Furthermore, the microspheres remain unchanged after the production process, making them suitable for reuse.
“Using microspheres means that we were able to speed up magnesite formation by orders of magnitude. This process takes place at room temperature, meaning that magnesite production is extremely energy efficient,” Power added.
Professor Power and his team admit that their process is still experimental and has to be scaled up for them to truly know that the magnesite they would produce could be used in carbon sequestration. However, Power added that this would all depend on some factors like the price of carbon and the refinement of the sequestration technology.