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The elemental insanity of carbon sequestration

 
The periodic table of the elements, devised by Mendeleev in 1870, is one of the most dangerous things ever created. It seemingly awakens us to a world of chemical possibilities, but it misleads us into believing that the world actually provides us with these things as starting materials. The most obvious problem, of course, is that is gives equal visual weight to atoms with vastly different relative abundances. Thus, we could try scaling by that. But that seems hard to get right as well.
 

But my current beef is that, except for a few inert and/or shiny things, nothing is available in elemental form. Which leads into an analysis of this fake news:
 
 
 
******snip***
 
Scientists have found a rapid way of producing magnesite, a mineral which stores carbon dioxide. If this can be developed to an industrial scale, it opens the door to removing CO2 from the atmosphere for long-term storage, thus countering the global warming effect of atmospheric CO2.
...
The researchers were able to show that by using polystyrene microspheres as a catalyst, magnesite would form within 72 days. The microspheres themselves are unchanged by the production process, so they can ideally be reused.
 
"For now, we recognise that this is an experimental process, and will need to be scaled up before we can be sure that magnesite can be used in carbon sequestration (taking CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently storing it as magnesite). This depends on several variables, including the price of carbon and the refinement of the sequestration technology, but we now know that the science makes it do-able".
 
Commenting, Professor Peter Kelemen at Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (New York) said "It is really exciting that this group has worked out the mechanism of natural magnesite crystallization at low temperatures, as has been previously observed—but not explained—in weathering of ultramafic rocks. The potential for accelerating the process is also important, potentially offering a benign and relatively inexpensive route to carbon storage, and perhaps even direct CO2 removal from air."
******end snip***

Exciting times we live in.
Of course, we need some magnesium. Magnesite is MgCO3. Well, I guess that is where the CO2 goes. Magnesium seems rather abundant, so where can we get a bunch?  Wait for it...
 
Magnesite.

 
.
(amounts in thousands of tonnes)
 
Since mining magnesite and heating off the CO2 so that we can sequester CO2 might not be productive (and this will be the case for other mineral sources), how about seawater?
Let's find out how much magnesium we need. Right now, the world emits about 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually . Since we need one Mg for every CO2 ,we only need 6/11 times as much Mg (molecular weight ratio) by mass. But magnesium is only present in seawater at 1.29% by mass, so factor that in and convert to volume. And the answer is:
 
1524 cubic kilometers, a bit less than the volume of Lake Ontario.
 
Great.

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