The carbon vault

The carbon vault

Summary

Every year, mining and industrial activity generates billions of tons of slurries, gravel, and other wastes that have a high pH. These alkaline wastes, which sit either behind fragile dams or heaped in massive piles, present a threat to people and ecosystems. But alkaline wastes could also help the world avert climate disaster. Reacting these wastes with carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air converts gaseous carbon into minerals and neutralizes the wastes’ alkalinity. Carrying this out on a global scale could trap between 310 million to 4 billion tons of CO2 annually, according to recent surveys. That could provide the world with a much needed means of lowering atmospheric CO2. But there are major hurdles. Governments will need to offer incentives for mineralization on the massive scale needed to make a dent in atmospheric carbon. And engineers will need to figure out how to harness the wastes while preventing the release of heavy metals and radioactivity locked in the material.

XL subscribe to our newsletter banner

Get the latest news and advice on COVID-19, direct from the experts in your inbox. Join hundreds of thousands who trust experts by subscribing to our newsletter.

Send your news and stories to us news@climaxradio.co.uk or newstories@climaxnewsroom.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.

Before you go...

Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.