Mineral CO2 sequestration, i.e., carbonation of alkaline silicate Ca/Mg minerals, analogous to natural weathering processes, is a possible technology for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. In this paper, alkaline Ca-rich industrial residues are presented as a possible feedstock for mineral CO2 sequestration. These materials are cheap, available near large point sources of CO2, and tend to react relatively rapidly with CO2 due to their chemical instability. Ground steel slag was carbonated in aqueous suspensions to study its reaction mechanisms. Process variables, such as particle size, temperature, carbon dioxide pressure, and reaction time, were systematically varied, and their influence on the carbonation rate was investigated. The maximum carbonation degree reached was 74% of the Ca content in 30 min at 19 bar CO2 pressure, 100 °C, and a particle size of <38 μm. The two most important factors determining the reaction rate are particle size (<2 mm to <38 μm) and reaction temperature (25-225 °C). The carbonation reaction was found to occur in two steps: (1) leaching of calcium from the steel slag particles into the solution; (2) precipitation of calcite on the surface of these particles. The first step and, more in particular, the diffusion of calcium through the solid matrix toward the surface appeared to be the rate-determining reaction step. The Ca diffusion was found to be hindered by the formation of a CaCO3-coating and a Ca-depleted silicate zone during the carbonation process. Research on further enhancement of the reaction rate, which would contribute to the development of a cost-effective CO 2-sequestration process, should focus particularly on this mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry