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Geological Sequestration of CO2 – An Exploratory Study of the Mechanisms and Kinetics of CO2 Reaction with Mg-Silicates


Gordon Brown, Dennis K. Bird, Kate Maher and Wendy Mao, Geo & Environmental Science, Stanford University


A possible strategy for geological sequestration of CO2 is in the reaction of CO2 and Mg silicates. Mg silicates are present in the form of picrites and serpentinites which are abundant and thermodynamically convenient rocks to form Mg-carbonates. This exploratory project focuses on the mechanism and kinetics of CO2 (and H2O) interactions with both serpentinites and picrites, as well as in individual serpentine minerals and individual minerals found in picritic basalts. This investigation will focus on 1) changes in the surface chemistry of these minerals following carbonation reactions, 2) molecular-level characterization of the reaction products, and 3) kinetic studies of these surface carbonation reactions using stable isotopes as tracers. Results from the project may open pathways to enhance reaction kinetics of CO2 with these minerals such that costs can be reduced at scale.

Progress Report


  • Del Real, G., P. Maher, G. E. Brown, and D. K. Bird. “CO2 sequestration in ultramafic rocks: Geological, physical, and chemical constraints from the Red Mountain Magnesite District, California,” (in preparation, 2010).
  • Johnson, N. C, B. Thomas, K. Maher, D. K. Bird, R. B. Rosenbauer, and G. E. Brown, Jr. “Kinetics of olivine carbonation at 60°C and 100 bar.” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta (in preparation, 2010).