Diversified major Rio Tinto will lead a team of climate innovation and research leaders to explore new approaches to carbon mineralisation technology to store carbon in solid rock form.
Carbon mineralisation uses natural chemical reactions to convert captured carbon dioxide into rock and store it underground. It is currently being used at large scale in Iceland.
Initial studies have shown that the Tamarack Intrusive Complex, in Minnesota, has the potential to permanently store carbon.
Rio Tinto is a joint venture partner with Toronto-listed Talon Metals in the Tamarack nickel project.
The US Department of Energy has awarded the Tamarack project $2.2-million in research and development funding to explore the project’s carbon storage potential.
Rio Tinto will contribute $4-million in funding for the three-year project, in addition to the funding from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-e Innovation Challenge.
The team at the Tamarack nickel project will include technical experts from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), which has demonstrated carbon mineralisation technology in Washington state; Columbia University and CarbFix.
Talon, as the majority owner and operator of the Tamarack project, is contributing ore body knowledge and land access for scientific field work.
“Our aim is to deliver carbon storage solutions that can help to meet climate targets by reducing and offsetting emissions from our operations and in other industries, and to explore the emerging commercial opportunities carbon storage may offer at Rio Tinto sites around the world,” said Rio Tinto chief scientist Dr Nigel Steward.
PNNL CO2 subsurface sequestration expert Todd Schaef stated that the work would leverage the knowledge gained from PNNL’s Wallula Basalt carbon storage pilot project, the only supercritical CO2 injection in basalt demonstration in the world.
“We will be developing forward-looking carbon storage strategies with Rio Tinto and the broader team. PNNL stewards a suite of capabilities that allow us to look at real-time CO2 interactions with rocks under extreme conditions. We are proud to bring interdisciplinary expertise with computational scientists, geochemists, and engineers who have been researching the subsurface mineralisation of CO2 for decades.”