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Australian University Unveils New Carbon-Trapping Bricks

timothy posted about a year ago | from the why-not-an-infinite-supply-of-graphene? dept.

Australia 142

FirephoxRising writes "A research pilot plant in Newcastle will trial world-first technology that turns carbon emissions into bricks and pavers for the construction industry. More efficient and stable than storing gas in the ground, the new method will sequester carbon and can work anywhere, unlike geo-sequestration which is site specific."

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Bringing coal to Newcastle! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44666951)

From TFA: "capture carbon dioxide emissions and turn them into rock." We all know what rock is made from carbon...

So they're bringing coal to Newcastle -- specifically, artificial coal bricks and pavers!

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (0)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44667009)

Perhaps they should bring them to Canberra. With the amount of CO2 emissions released there, especially now during election time, with the carbon offsets alone we could single handedly solve China's energy crisis with coal fired power plants. Combined with the close proximity to government grants, surely this will be a resounding financial success!

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

sjwt (161428) | about a year ago | (#44667175)

Spoken like someone who doesn't know anything about politics.

Politicians will be out and about spending their travel and election allowances.. not staying in Canberra.. Even the ones whose electrons are in Canberra will be looking for reasons to go elsewhere, I'm sure they will justify them as friendship visits, or what not.

Speaking as a now Ex-Canberran.

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44667211)

Meh, put a brick in it.

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44667287)

tfs:

A research pilot plant in Newcastle will trial world-first technology

my favorite beer! I'll have to visit. what is there to do there?

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

BluBrick (1924) | about a year ago | (#44667385)

my favorite beer! I'll have to visit. what is there to do there?

Those trees really do spoil your view of the wood, don't they?

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44667507)

my rule is to read the first six words of a summary and make all my judgments from there. saves time from reading!

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | about a year ago | (#44667263)

Why would their electrons be in Canberra?

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#44668831)

The electrons pretty much go wherever their atoms are.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for separating politicians from their electrons.

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667973)

"canberra", "reasons to go elsewhere" - comedy gold.....

Re: Bringing coal to Newcastle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44668371)

Hahahaha. Rotflcopter.
It's funny because it's true.

Re: Bringing coal to Newcastle! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667475)

OP here. It's not, of course, coal, else it would be used for fuel. It's some flavor of carbonate.

It takes all the energy initially extracted by burning the coal in the first place to convert the CO back into coal, whereas making nice stable carbonates is (depending on the metal's original form, of course) likely exothermic.

FTFY (1)

_xen (79742) | about a year ago | (#44668877)

Perhaps they should bring them to Canberra. With the amount of CH4 emissions released there, especially now during election time ...

Re: Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667393)

OK, OP here... Can anyone explain why I got modded "insightful"? I was going for funny, as it's obviously not coal or graphite (which would be reused as fuel, not used as pavers) but some sort of carbonate (as other posters have since pointed out.

Yes, I'm familiar with the use of +1 Insightful because +1 Funny doesn't add karma, but I'm an AC -- I don't get karma either way. Please tell me people didn't take my joke seriously and believe this was about coal...

Re: Bringing coal to Newcastle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667595)

Some people assign -1 to funny, I know I did when I actually cared about modding.

Re: Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44668659)

Yes, I'm familiar with the use of +1 Insightful because +1 Funny doesn't add karma

Read the /. FAQ, they change that. Funny now does give karma.

Please tell me people didn't take my joke seriously and believe this was about coal.

Neither the summary nor article were very informative. It's easy to see why folks would think it simply removes the oxygen from the CO2 from the lack of information.

Re:Bringing coal to Newcastle! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44668291)

We all know what rock is made from carbon...

Diamonds? That would be a neat trick.

And what is the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44666961)

Will this be yet another energy-intensive scheme with high costs?

Flammable bricks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44666971)

Can't see any problem with carbon based bricks. They'll burn nicely.

Re:Flammable bricks (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about a year ago | (#44667007)

So does asphalt if heated hot enough...

Re:Flammable bricks (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#44667215)

I don't know why they don't spread Canadian tar sand on the road to repair the potholes

(Yeah I know that doen't apply to Oz, where the intersates are paved with dead roos

Re:Flammable bricks (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44667293)

xkcd [xkcd.com] .

Re:Flammable bricks (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44667885)

intersates are paved with dead roos

Intersate?
I get it now: dead roo, the meat you can eat between meals.

Re: Flammable bricks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44668235)

I just drove from Bathurst to QLD,
And did a little experiment, I would count the number of seconds between dead roos. Highest I got to was 40seconds over a 10minute period. Average was probably 15seconds

Re: Flammable bricks (1)

johnsnails (1715452) | about a year ago | (#44668237)

I just drove from Bathurst to QLD, And did a little experiment, I would count the number of seconds between dead roos. Highest I got to was 40seconds over a 10minute period. Average was probably 15seconds

Re:Flammable bricks (1)

_xen (79742) | about a year ago | (#44668903)

Can't see any problem with carbon based bricks. They'll burn nicely.

Chemistry not a strong point?

Good luck burning C02, (or the carbonates of which these bricks are most likely composed) dude!

Turning CO2 into what? (4, Insightful)

edibobb (113989) | about a year ago | (#44666979)

The article fails to mention what they intend to convert the CO2 into, or how much it will cost. Maybe the primary function of the company is to win government grants.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year ago | (#44666999)

The article fails to mention what they intend to convert the CO2 into, or how much it will cost. Maybe the primary function of the company is to win government grants.

"Maybe"?

Turning CO2 into carbonates? (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44667181)

A good question, though I'm less cynical about the presumed answer. They did say something like they were recreating the Earth's natural processes, so probably something like calcium carbonate (CaCO3), the stuff that egg and seashells are made of.

Can anybody say how various carbonates compares energetically to oil and CO2? My chemistry is pretty rusty. Since the final cycle would be oil -> CO2 -> carbonate the maximum net energy would be that from a hypothetical fossil fuel -> carbonate transition, which would tell us how energetically feasible this is with the right catalysts. If it's an endothermic reaction this is a complete non-starter except as part of some hypothetical future atmosphere-scrubber (and I do really hope we have the tech ready if it comes to that).

If the reaction is exothermic though then there's hope, especially if it's a significant portion of the (presumably larger) oil -> CO2 energetic gap. If we could complete the fossil fuel -> brick transition while generating even half as much power as currently then this could be a real game-changer. Every coal- or oil-fired power plant could have it's adjacent brick factory and become carbon neutral. We could stay on fossil fuels for centuries without aggravating the global climate, even as oil and gas run out - we have truly massive coal reserves to fall back on. Of course we'd need to really shift the attention back to general environmental protection again, and get serious about that, otherwise the search for fuel could get *really* ugly. Coal mining isn't exactly environmentally friendly

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (3, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44667467)

Every coal- or oil-fired power plant could have it's adjacent brick factory and become carbon neutral. We could stay on fossil fuels for centuries without aggravating the global climate

Or we could run on thorium for thousand(s?) years.

Or we could build those damn solar cells on the moon and not care any more (though I assume that bring some more energy here which will contribute to.)

Since we're in a fucking hurry best thing to do now would be to stop consume items until we've catched up with solutions.

Those barren (oil producing) lands look like shit if you ask me.

Wish we could get rid of all the damn plastic. It's kinda ok if you burn it but all obviously isn't burned.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44668955)

Oh, no argument that going to thorium, solar, etc. would be preferable. We're not faced with a technological problem though, but a business one. If we could profitably eliminate CO2 emissions from fossil fuels we could buy ourselves another 50-100 years for the conversion, allowing the alternative tech to become more viable for the developing nations where the current cost premium is a stumbling block.

But yeah, we're reaching the point that available fossil fuels are getting increasingly environmentally devastating to extract, so if we go that route we will absolutely need to get downright militant toward environmental protection or we'll be faced with an even worse situation.

I'd much rather see something like Gen4 style fully sealed nuclear reactors being deployed where solar,etc isn't viable - if they can hit their projected cost then the lifetime cost of the entire sealed reactor will actually be comparable to an equivalent energy capacity worth of coal (average market price, some places can get coal much cheaper). The problem of course is that nobody buys 10-20 years worth of coal all at once, so we'd need to get serious about organizing cheap and easy energy financing if we want to go that route.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (5, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#44667513)

It's been a while since I did chemistry, but calcium carbonate can be made from calcium oxide and carbon dioxide in the presence of water. I think that's more or less how it's done in sea creatures. So you've got:

CaO + H2O + CO2 --> CaCO3 + H2O

I believe the reaction takes place spontaneously when you dissolve calcium oxide and CO2 in water. To check, add up the standard enthalpy of formation for both sides. The water cancels, of course, leaving:

635 kJ/mol + 393.5 kJ/mol --> 1207 kJmol

Right is more negative than the left so the reaction is exothermic. Calcium carbonate is basically limestone or marble, so a nice building material, mixed with other stuff to stabilize it against acid rain. Leaving the question of where you get the CaO.

Having done all that work, I found this: http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/publications/novel-co2-capture-taskforce-report/online/54351 [globalccsinstitute.com] .

Looks like the reactions are all exothermic, but you have to come up with the minerals, which means mining a ton and a bit of rock for every ton of coal you burn. But you get building materials out of the bargain too.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667621)

Calcium carbonate and acid rain equals water soluble gypsum. Not cool to use as an exterior material.

Bet that's why they're PAINTING THEM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667775)

These bricks are painted gold. Of course they're shooting for a metaphor there, but I also suspect that they're doing this because the bricks are chemically fragile -- they break down when they get wet for example?

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667637)

How much energy does it take to make CaO?
Hint: It's usually made from CaCO3.

Posting AC because I just modded.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#44667727)

I imagine you could get it from sea water, which is what coral must do. But the solution they're using is in the link I posted - you use carbonates of other metals. You can dig those up.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (0)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44668971)

Hmm, but if you're starting with a carbonate of any form you're not going to be able to absorb much additional carbon. Doesn't do us any good if you release a bunch of carbon on your way to sequester a bunch of other carbon. I suppose if you had a source of, say, calcium carbonate you could conceivable convert it to bicarbonate, but that doubles the amount of calcium needed to capture a given amount of carbon.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667673)

A bit of digging finds that they are reacting Olivine (Magnesium silicate) with CO2 giving Magnesium Carbonate.

This reaction has been studied for years as a sequestration reaction for CO2 but traditionally it needs high pressure and moderate temperature to get reasonable
conversion of the Olivine. The team at Newcastle Uni have come up with a method to produce Magnesium Carbonate (Dolomite) at much more modest reaction conditions.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44667879)

I did a bit of digging too but came up empty, or at least everything I found relating to carbonate (my guess as to the material the bricks might be made of) didn't seem to link back to the stakeholders mentioned in TFA so I couldn't be sure. Do you have a link?

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44668275)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolomite :

"Reproducible, inorganic low-temperature syntheses of dolomite and magnesite were published for the first time in 1999. Those laboratory experiments showed how the initial precipitation of a metastable "precursor" (such as magnesium calcite), will change gradually into more and more of the stable phase (such as dolomite or magnesite) during periodical intervals of dissolution and re-precipitation. The general principle governing the course of this irreversible geochemical reaction has been coined "breaking Ostwald's step rule".[9]"

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (2)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#44668733)

A bit of digging finds that they are reacting Olivine (Magnesium silicate) with CO2 giving Magnesium Carbonate.

This reaction has been studied for years as a sequestration reaction for CO2 but traditionally it needs high pressure and moderate temperature to get reasonable
conversion of the Olivine. The team at Newcastle Uni have come up with a method to produce Magnesium Carbonate (Dolomite) at much more modest reaction conditions.

So how much CO2 is being produced with this process per ton of CO2 sequestered? There is hardly any point in an exercise like this if the ratio isn't smaller than one.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44667895)

It won't be that since the raw material to do it would be originally from limestone so entirely pointless and a net carbon gain. I've heard a bit about this research a few years ago but can't remember the details but it wasn't anything so obviously silly - looks like it's time for both of both of us to read the article :)

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44668243)

This sounds similar to an old story I read not too long ago. They had a form of concrete that would absorb CO2, with plans to use that for paving stones or other uses. This new idea sounds like it's being used to make the paving stones directly.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#44668399)

Every coal- or oil-fired power plant could have it's adjacent brick factory and become carbon neutral.

Coal puts out tons of real pollution (toxins, radioactive particulates, etc), not just CO2. Sequestering the CO2 does not solve the even more immediate and tangible harmful emissions problem.

Re:Turning CO2 into carbonates? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44668995)

No it doesn't. But if you've got the equipment in place to capture CO2 emissions, then you've probably also got the equipment to separate out much of the other stuff before it gets to your CO2 scrubber and gums up the works, which makes sequestering those other emissions far more viable. Not an ideal solution, but better than today.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44667305)

The article fails to mention what they intend to convert the CO2 into

umm... bricks? it's in the first sentence of TFS, and the headline too.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#44667413)

Read the companies own blurb http://www.orica.com/News---Media/Orica-invests-in-CO2-capture-research-project [orica.com] . Carbon certainly has lots of uses but our current methods of getting it and burning it seems to be the most wasteful and destructive use.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44667503)

this seems like a nonsequiter to me. how does it relate?

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667309)

I know a guy that gets grants from the government for farming. I think you're on the right track with this idea.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44667421)

Looks like the "company" which developed the technology is backed by the University of New South Wales. That's not an institution that normally backs vapour-ware. Typically these are attempts to monetise research and as such typically result in at least pilot trials.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44667533)

Given the Ample selection of carbonate minerals [wikipedia.org] , I don't doubt that you can get an equivalent-to-concrete-or-better construction brick out of a process designed to scrub substantial amounts of otherwise freed carbon dioxide. It will be interesting to see, though, how the whole process stacks up once you factor in the sources of whatever other materials will be reacting with the carbon dioxide.

It's less a question of whether it works, this isn't some 'run your car from water! Secrets Big Oil doesn't want you to know!' vaporware; but it may or may not be economic without a subsidy regimen based on its green credentials.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44668265)

it may or may not be economic without a subsidy regimen based on its green credentials.

Subsidy is a way, but there is another way too. Now that a useable process is found - outlaw large scale CO2 emissions. Similiar to how emissions of freon, mercury and many other chemicals are outlawed already. That way, the only way of legally burning coal will be with a scrubber. Coal power will cost more - it may or may not get more competition. The same can apply to other fossil power - burn natural gas and you have to scrub too. But there will be less CO2 to remove per MWh in that case.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about a year ago | (#44668807)

A ban would make sense except for that Australia has no nuclear powered electricity generation [wikipedia.org] . Even though the country sits on a third of the world's uranium deposits, Australia seems determined politically to wait out the usefulness of uranium until thorium becomes more standard or even fusion becomes possible. Australia is set to possibly become the biggest exporter in the world [australiancoal.com.au] in the future, so politicians desperately hope there is a way to make coal "clean" at little extra cost.

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (2)

pm3003 (3029617) | about a year ago | (#44668147)

From the US DOE : "Direct mineral carbonation has been investigated as a process to convert gaseous CO2 into a geologically stable, solid final form. The process utilizes a solution of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), sodium chloride (NaCl), and water, mixed with a mineral reactant, such as olivine (Mg 2SiO4) or serpentine [Mg 3Si 2O 5(OH)4]. Carbon dioxide is dissolved into this slurry, by diffusion through the surface and gas dispersion within the aqueous phase. The process includes dissolution of the mineral and precipitation of magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) in a single unit operation. Optimum results have been achieved using heat pretreated serpentine feed material, with a surface area of roughly 19 m 2 per gram, and high partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2). Specific conditions include: 155C; PCO2=185 atm; 15% solids. Under these conditions, 78% stoichiometric conversion of the silicate to the carbonate was achieved in 30 minutes. Studies suggest that the mineral dissolution rate is primarily surface controlled, while the carbonate precipitation rate is primarily dependent on the bicarbonate concentration of the slurry. Current studies include further examination of the reaction pathways, and an evaluation of the resource potential for the magnesium silicate reactant, particularly olivine. Additional studies include the examination of various pretreatment options, the development of a continuous flow reactor, and an evaluation of the economic feasibility of the process. "

Re:Turning CO2 into what? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44668293)

Especially, how much energy it costs.

Calcium carbonate (4, Informative)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44667017)

CO2 is carbon at its maximum oxydation level (you cannot burn it anymore). Limestone is made of calcium carbonate (and magnesium carbonate in a lesser extent), it is also carbon at its maximum oxydation level. The transformation seems smart, but it requires water (easy part) and calcium. Where will that calcium come from? The usual source is limestone...

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#44667085)

Coylet Green. The C is for Carbon and Calcium.

Stop drinking your milk kids or the government wins.

Re:Calcium carbonate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667479)

Is milk kids a euphemism for something sick? I don't see it on Urban Dictionary yet., but I had a coworker who complained about having a burrito baby after lunch one day. Not sure what she meant, either, but it sounds sick.

Re: Calcium carbonate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667611)

It's a euphemism for "I can't be arsed to properly punctuate things". There should be commas before and after "kids".

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#44667157)

The process uses Mg and Ca silicates, changing them into carbonates and releasing silica.

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667159)

" (you cannot burn it anymore)."

Sure you can. Chlorine Trifluoride will burn CO2 nicely. So would Dioxygen difluoride.

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44667815)

Those things sound like they'll burn explosively on their own without the need for adding anything to get it started.

Re:Calcium carbonate (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44667543)

Fluorine considers your 'you cannot burn it anymore' assessment to be a sign of weakness and defeatism. Oxygen may be the 'kleenex' of Oxidizing agents; but it is far from the most competent one...

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44668761)

CO2 is a problem. PFC are worse. It is not a good idea to burn CO2 further into CF4, if that was your idea.

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44668863)

No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

Re:Calcium carbonate (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44667909)

It won't. That would be very silly and obviously flawed. They are using a magnesium based mineral instead.

If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about a year ago | (#44667077)

Why not propane?
They could cart the CO2 and some water to a place with lots of wind or solar but inconvenient access to a hungry power grid and use the Fischer-Tropsch process [wikipedia.org] to synthesize "carbon neutral" ish propane. When it burns, they could recapture the CO2 and do it again.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about a year ago | (#44667111)

Why not propane?

They could cart the CO2 and some water to a place with lots of wind or solar but inconvenient access to a hungry power grid and use the Fischer-Tropsch process [wikipedia.org] to synthesize "carbon neutral" ish propane. When it burns, they could recapture the CO2 and do it again.

That process looks like it mainly deals with Carbon-Monoxide which is a different animal that Carbon-Dioxide.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about a year ago | (#44668053)

Fortunately, a process for removing the extra oxygen atom has been considered by others [technologyreview.com] .

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667117)

So somewhere they can build a road to carry hundreds of millions of tonnes of bricks, but a cable would be impossible?

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about a year ago | (#44667851)

It wouldn't be impossible, but sometimes inconvenient is a big obstacle. Also, wind and solar don't necessarily have peak supply during times of peak demand. If you build extra capacity into the wind and solar equipment so that you have enough extra during peak supply to store some up, making propane could be a storage method - not necessarily the most efficient one, but one that also does something with that CO2 and reduces demand for hydrocarbons out of the ground.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#44667135)

I thought Methane. Crack sea water for hydrogen and oxygen. Burn that mixture in combination with atmospheric carbon to produce methane. Compress, liquefy and ship it to the world.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about a year ago | (#44667641)

My first thought had been methane, using the Sabatier Effect [wikipedia.org] , but propane becomes a liquid at much more convenient temperature/pressure points.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44667921)

Why not propane?

Because currently the easiest ways to get hydrogen are from materials where it's far easier to get propane from them than hydrogen.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about a year ago | (#44668157)

It's pretty easy to get hydrogen from water. It's not super efficient, but the cost-benefit item for comparison is making bricks.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44668211)

It's not super efficient

Which of course is the definition of not being as easy as other ways that give you lots of the stuff without much effort. In fact it takes so much energy to brute force those bonds that bricks are chicken feed.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

John.Banister (1291556) | about a year ago | (#44668521)

Well, enjoy your bricks, then.

Re:If they've alread captured the CO2, (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44668341)

I'd expect it to be easier to electrically connect the place than to bring the CO2 there.

Well, unless you could use those bricks as intermediate form. That would make a very compact, transportable substance you could conveniently transport to those propane factories. There the bricks would be split up again to get the CO2 for making propane (or another hydrogenated carbon), and the other substances then brought back to the power plant (together with the fuel) for repeated CO2 capture.

Now give 1 percent loans for new build. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667125)

Construction with this product and our high housing cost will be a thing of the past. We would build our way to lower rents.
And clean the air.

Seems like overkill (1)

MikeV (7307) | about a year ago | (#44667201)

Want to capture and sequester CO2 without all that hubbub and with existing machinery and technology? Plant fast growing pines and forests, cut them down and build houses with them. Wait... we're already doing that. That's CO2 that is sequestered in a building for decades or more. How many tons of wood does a house use? I think figuring out how to properly dispose of bulldozed homes would be a better effort. Such as converting the wood to char and spreading that out on our farmlands where it will remain as char for centuries.

Re:Seems like overkill (5, Funny)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about a year ago | (#44667535)

I bet you could get a lot of investors on board with a plan to use solar power to convert atmospheric CO2 into building materials. Just don't tell them that the super-secret device that does so is called a "tree."

Speaking as a fungus... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44667553)

Your proposal to add massive amounts of cellulose and lignin to the environment is relevant to my interests...

Re:Speaking as a fungus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44668295)

Don't forget the part about the fungus wanting to subscribe to the newsletter....

Re:Seems like overkill (2)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about a year ago | (#44667745)

Centuries may seem like a long time to you. Just like it did to people a few centuries ago, for whom "not until the 21st century" might as well have been "forever". But it's not really very long. Especially compared to this technology, which can store it stably for millions of years.

How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667357)

How are they turning it into a solid? What are the byproducts of the process? And how harmful are they compared to the CO2?

Uh.... What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667529)

for the construction industry...

Are they cheap? It's hard to beat concrete for price.

Are they black? black won't sell. nobody wants black bricks.

Are they flammable? The only compressed carbon i know offhand is coal. Nobody will want flammable bricks.

Solve those three potential problems and you might have something. And if they do you might want to forget about bricks and pavers and replace the cement block with them. That would sell. Billions of them.

Re:Uh.... What? (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44667601)

Are they black? black won't sell. nobody wants black bricks.

If ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don't we?

Re:Uh.... What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667667)

You've never lived in the South, have you.
Black stores heat. It stores a /lot/ of heat, and it releases it relatively slowly. It's the same reason noone ever wants to sit in a black car on a hot summer day; Good , your house will heat up quickly, and you'll have to spend more energy to cool it.
That said, I wouldn't mind black bricks under white siding, but you're then spending more money and energy to not spend more money and energy. There's no easy win there.

Re:Uh.... What? (2)

Jeeeb (1141117) | about a year ago | (#44668057)

Dear AC,

TFA shows that the bricks are a light brown. Should go quite well in warm, sunny climates (like... you know Australia!). Although even if they were black, I'm sure they could be painted with a reflective coating.

Are they flammable? The only compressed carbon i know offhand is coal. Nobody will want flammable bricks.

Diamond is another famous form of compressed carbon. These aren't coal or diamonds though. They are a carbon compound. If you stopped to think for a few seconds, you'd realize that they are almost certainly not flammable. High flammability means it has lots of energy stored. This rock is being made from the waste product (CO2) left over from extracting energy.

Are they cheap? It's hard to beat concrete for price.

Probably not but if the cost can be offset through carbon trading schemes like those active in Australia*, Europe and China they might be quite cost effective. The entire point of TFA is that they have found a way to make the conversion method practical.

Also btw. if you are worried about heat absorption, then you don't want to use concrete as a building material!

Solve those three potential problems and you might have something. And if they do you might want to forget about bricks and pavers and replace the cement block with them. That would sell. Billions of them.

Would it have been so hard to read the article and think before posting?

(*Technically Australia has a carbon tax but will be converting to an emissions trading scheme)

Calcium Carbonate? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44667585)

That'll work out well with the acid rain around here...

Carbon burns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667591)

Carbon will burn quite nicely. I can imagine a street paved with these going up like a torch when someone uses a road flare. IDIOTS!!!

Re:Carbon burns! (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44667929)

Graphite crucibles are used for holding molten metal at high temperatures. Looks like you were a bit quick to yell "idiots" :)

Re:Carbon burns! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44668349)

Looks like you were a bit quick to yell "idiots" :)

You misunderstood. That was his signature.

Re:Carbon burns! (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44668381)

An AC has a sig? His sig is on the same line as his comment?

Look folks - we have a person here that is trying hard to look like an idiot but is instead a dirty weasel of a liar playing some sort of silly troll game.
Why bother with such obvious and stupid shit?

Re:Carbon burns! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44668417)

1. Whoosh.

2. You want to consult a dictionary about the term "signature".

Re:Carbon burns! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44668347)

Yeah, that's why carbon dioxide (which also contains carbon) is highly flammable ... oh, wait ...

mod Down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667661)

moans and groans Here, Please do

Somewhat misleading. :( (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44667949)

There are apparently 2 Australian companies that trap C02 as a brick/solid form.

One being Timbercrete, which takes sawdust and combines it with a variety of things to produce "bricks":
http://www.timbercrete.com.au/pdfs/Timbercrete%20an%20Introduction%205_0%20WEB.pdf

The 2nd, being the one that is referenced in this Slashdot post is similar to the techniques used by some of the geothermal power plants where the CO2 bearing waste heat/steam is pumped into Basalt caverns where the acidic mixture results in some carbonate/limestone. In their case, looks like they intend to kick off mining for serpentinite(or another cheap alkaline mineral), crush it into a fine powder, and then react it with heat, pressure, water, and CO2 to produce a variety of carbonates or other stable carbon bearing minerals.

Re:Somewhat misleading. :( (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44668441)

I wonder why a geothermal power station would produce CO2, is the water is volcanic and bubbling? Maybe bottle it as a new enviro friendly soda pop...

Wood (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44668435)

I have a patent pending system that captures carbon from the atmosphere and turns it into wood, for the construction industry. The process only requires water and sunlight, while maintenance costs are minimal.
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