SK Materials launches joint project to produce construction aggregates thru carbon mineralization

By Lim Chang-won Posted : December 17, 2021, 14:25 Updated : December 17, 2021, 14:25

[Courtesy of SK Materials]

SEOUL -- SK Materials, a unit of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group, joined hands with a public electricity supplier for South Korea's first project to produce construction aggregates by mineralizing carbon dioxide contained in the exhaust gas discharged from a power plant. After a pilot operation, the two companies would push for commercialization.

Carbon mineralization is an emerging approach to remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the form of carbonate minerals. Industrial process wastes are an alternative mineral feedstock material for carbon mineralization. By applying an accelerated carbonation step to solid waste, there is potential to sequestrate meaningful quantities of CO2 in carbonate-cemented products that have reuse potential. 

The manufacture of carbonated aggregates has been commercially established. An assessment of mineralized construction aggregates suggests that carbon capture, utilization, and storage technology can manage significant quantities of CO2.

SK Materials said that carbon capture utilization facilities would be installed at a thermal power plant run by Korea South-East Power (KOEN) in the southern port city of Yeosu. "We will upgrade CCU technology by establishing a solid cooperative system with KOEN. Through this, we will continue to discover opportunities for various businesses and investments," SK Materials CEO Lee Young-wook said in a statement on December 17.

Through a process in which carbon dioxide reacts with calcium ions contained in coal cinder, SK Materials and KOEN aim to store CO2 permanently and recycle waste in a greenhouse gas reduction project with economic feasibility and stability that neither uses chemicals nor generates wastewater. 

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