TAMARACK, Minnesota–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 14, 2022–
The US Department of Energy has awarded $2.2 million in funding to a Rio Tinto-led team to explore the carbon storage potential of the Tamarack nickel joint venture in central Minnesota.
Rio Tinto has brought together a team of innovation and climate research leaders to explore new approaches in carbon mineralization technology as a way to safely and permanently store carbon in the form of rock. Rio Tinto will provide $4 million in funding for the 3-year project, in addition to funding from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E Innovation Challenge.
Carbon mineralization uses natural chemical reactions to convert captured carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) into rock and store it underground. It has the potential to be an important technology for achieving global climate goals and is now being used on a large scale by the world leader in carbon mineralization. Carbfix in Iceland.
Rio Tinto’s technical experts will work with partners including the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), which has demonstrated carbon mineralization technology in Washington State; Columbia University; Carbfix; and Advantek’s waste management services. Talon Metals, majority owner and operator of the Tamarack Nickel Project and joint venture partner of Rio Tinto, brings its knowledge of ore bodies and land access to scientific field work.
Rio Tinto’s chief scientist, Dr Nigel Steward, said: “Our goal is to provide carbon storage solutions that can help achieve climate goals by reducing and offsetting emissions from our operations and other industries, and to explore the emerging business opportunities that carbon storage can bring to Rio. Tinto locations worldwide. We will work with leading researchers and innovators to prove the carbon storage potential of the Tamarack site and develop mineralization solutions that can be used not only here, but in other similar locations.
Todd Schaef, an expert in underground CO2 sequestration from PNNL, said: “This work will build on the knowledge gained Carbon storage pilot project in the Wallula basalt of the PNNL, the only demonstration of supercritical CO2 injection into basalt in the world. We will develop forward-looking carbon storage strategies with Rio Tinto and the whole team. PNNL manages a set of capabilities that allow us to examine in real time the interactions of CO 2 with rocks under extreme conditions. We are proud to bring interdisciplinary expertise with computer scientists, geochemists and engineers who have studied underground CO 2 mineralization for decades.
Columbia Climate School Founding Dean Sir Alex Halliday said, “We are truly excited about the opportunity this partnership provides to rapidly advance carbon management technologies at scale. This is an important project and a superb example of the work for which the Columbia Climate School was established. putting climate knowledge into action through transdisciplinary projects with key public and private partnerships. We look forward to many more to come.
Carbfix CEO Dr Edda Aradottir said, “This project will bring together leading industry players, academics and experts demonstrating the international partnerships needed to accelerate climate action. Carbfix is a global pioneer in carbon mineralization with proprietary technology that can play a vital role in climate action, having over a decade of experience in safely injecting and storing CO2 from sources emission as well as the atmosphere. We are delighted to bring our expertise to this partnership and help find solutions to the unique geological conditions encountered at the Tamarack site.
Talon Metals CEO Henri van Rooyen said: “Rio Tinto has assembled a uniquely skilled team of scientists and innovators to explore new approaches to harnessing carbon mineralization as a way to safely and permanently store carbon from hard-to-reduce industries and carbon removed from the atmosphere.
“Talon is pleased to host this project here in Aitkin County, Minnesota, which will be at the forefront of new approaches to climate science.”
Analyzes by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that billions of tonnes of CO 2 must be removed from the atmosphere in order to keep global warming below 2°C, and that this will require not only deep reductions in emissions, but also carbon dioxide removal technologies. As Rio Tinto prioritizes emission reductions in mining and smelting, it is also exploring the potential role of carbon capture and mineralization to store carbon safely and permanently in solid form.
Notes to Editors
Tamarack is a nickel, copper and cobalt project located in central Minnesota that is currently progressing towards feasibility studies. The project is managed by Rio Tinto’s joint venture partner, Talon Metals, which owns a 51% share and has the right to acquire up to 60% of the shares.
Until now, large-scale carbon mineralization projects have focused on areas with certain types of rock formations known as basaltic lava geology, such as the Carbfix sites in Iceland. In contrast, the Tamarack Nickel project includes a large bowl of so-called porous ultramafic rock. Although this bowl is outside the resource of nickel and other battery minerals, it has the potential to safely store hundreds of millions of tons of carbon in solid form through natural reactions.
The project will include laboratory studies and field work to confirm the carbon storage potential of the site, understand the hydrology of the region and evaluate different carbon mineralization technologies, developing a roadmap by 2025. to guide implementation decisions.
The Tamarack site is also set to host the first deployment of climate technology start-ups carbon capture innovative Direct Air Capture technology, which captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provides a potential source of carbon supply for mineralization. Rio Tinto has invested $4 million in Carbon Capture to support the development of its technology and feasibility studies for deployment at Tamarack are underway.
Rio Tinto is also partnering with Carbfix to help deliver the first carbon ore storage hub in Iceland and implement carbon capture and ore storage at the ISAL aluminum smelter.
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PUBLISHED: 2/14/2022 9:40 a.m. / DISK: 2/14/2022 9:41 a.m.