Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Scientists investigating the CO2 absorbing properties of mine waste have discovered asbestos fibres are a good candidate for climate change carbon capture projects.
Asbestos could be a powerful weapon against climate change (you read that right)
Scientists are exploring ways to use mineral waste from mines to pull huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air.by
October 6, 2020
The vast surface area of certain types of fibrous asbestos, a class of carcinogenic compounds once heavily used in heat-resistant building materials, makes them particularly good at grabbing hold of the carbon dioxide molecules dissolved in rainwater or floating through the air.
That includes the most common form of asbestos, chrysotile, a serpentine mineral laced throughout the mountain (serpentine is California’s state rock). The reaction with carbon dioxide mainly produces magnesium carbonate minerals like magnesite, a stable material that could lock away the greenhouse gas for millennia.
Mineralization is already the main mechanism nature uses in the so-called “slow carbon cycle.” The carbon dioxide in rainwater dissolves basic rocks, producing magnesium, calcium, and other compounds that make their way into the oceans. There, marine life converts the materials into shells and skeletons that eventually turn into limestone and other rock types.
There are more than enough minerals to tie up all the carbon dioxide we’ve ever emitted and more. The problem is that the vast majority are locked away in solid rock that doesn’t come into contact with the greenhouse gas. Even when they’re exposed in rock outcroppings, it takes a long time for these reactions to occur.
The approaches could include spreading the material out to increase the reactive surface area, running fans that increase the amount of air flowing over the asbestos, or directly injecting concentrated carbon dioxide into the mineral pits.
It’s possible that some amount of asbestos would remain or could be dispersed in the course of doing the work, Aines says. Those are among the key questions that would need to be tested, he adds.
…Read more: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/10/06/1009374/asbestos-could-be-a-powerful-weapon-against-climate-change-you-read-that-right/
The plan is to take a known long term lightweight fluffy fibrous carcinogen, spread it on the ground, and blow fans on it to increase air circulation.
I think I prefer to keep the CO2 in the air.