In an attempt to reduce their energy consumption, the United States is seeking technical means to limit the resulting greenhouse gas emissions without significant additional costs, for example by capturing these gases at source. The country, which has fossil fuel reserves for about a century, prefers to consume "clean" rather than less. At the Arizona State University's Goldwater Laboratory, Andrew Chizmeshya and Michael McKelvy are studying a process to neutralize carbon dioxide (CO2) by combining it, under high temperature, with two minerals available in large quantities (olivine). and serpentine) in an aqueous solution of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. The reaction produces magnesium carbonate, a stable compound that can easily be stored. For now, the minerals must be pretreated to prevent the formation of a kind of surface crust that slows the reaction considerably. But these precautions increase the cost of the device, estimated at about 70 dollars per ton while the goal is 10 dollars. The two researchers, who work with a dozen scientists from four other laboratories, have developed a micro-reactor (for which they have filed a patent application) to observe the process of mineral carbonation at the atomic level and to see how to crack the incriminated crust as and when it is formed. This work could also pave the way for the development of a sector for the reprocessing of asbestos fibers. Overall, the Department of Energy spends some 80 $ 1 million a year on 65 CO2 capture and storage research projects, plus 18 $ 1 million from the Department of Agriculture - two positions in the United States. rise in the latest budget of the Bush Administration.
source: www.netl.doe.gov (.pdf)