Exploration of the role of heat activation in enhancing serpentine carbon sequestration reactions

Michael J. McKelvy, Andrew Chizmeshya, Jason Diefenbacher, Hamdallah Béarat, George Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


As compared with other candidate carbon sequestration technologies, mineral carbonation offers the unique advantage of permanent disposal via geologically stable and environmentally benign carbonates. The primary challenge is the development of an economically viable process. Enhancing feedstock carbonation reactivity is key. Heat activation dramatically enhances aqueous serpentine carbonation reactivity. Although the present process is too expensive to implement, the materials characteristics and mechanisms that enhance carbonation are of keen interest for further reducing cost. Simultaneous thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis (TGA/DTA) of the serpentine mineral lizardite was used to isolate a series of heat-activated materials as a function of residual hydroxide content at progressively higher temperatures. Their structure and composition are evaluated via TGA/DTA, X-ray powder diffraction (including phase analysis), and infrared analysis. The meta-serpentine materials that were observed to form ranged from those with longer range ordering, consistent with diffuse stage-2 like interlamellar order, to an amorphous component that preferentially forms at higher temperatures. The aqueous carbonation reaction process was investigated for representative materials via in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Magnesite was observed to form directly at 15 MPa CO 2 and at temperatures ranging from 100 to 125°C. Carbonation reactivity is generally correlated with the extent of meta-serpentine formation and structural disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6897-6903
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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