Carbon capture acceleration
In the natural system, the weathering of silicate minerals plays an important role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This process generates alkalinity which is transmitted through rivers to the ocean where it is permanently stored, enabling reversal of anthropogenic ocean acidification (human-induced atmospheric CO2 causing a reduction of ocean PH).
However, this process is very slow, so research is currently being carried out to understand the potential for enhancing the rate of silicate weathering as a technique for carbon capture and storage - a technique commonly referred to as Enhanced Mineral Weathering (EMW).
Several alkaline waste streams in the UK meet the basic requirements for EMW, namely high pH and high mineral silicate or hydroxide content, and as wastes, do not pose the same level of carbon intensity to obtain as virgin materials, as well as avoiding landfill and promoting a circular economy. Another major consideration for EMW application is the mechanism used to enhance the rate of mineral dissolution.