From being a cause of pollution and ailments, Australian scientists are studying ways to convert carbon dioxide into other more useful items such as bricks to build edifices.
New South Wales Resources Minister Chris Hatcher disclosed that NSW researchers are studying converting CO2 emissions into a carbonate rock, in the process allowing local companies to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets and at the same time creating a construction material.
Mr Hartcher said that the CO2 mineral carbonation pilot plant would be built within 18 months at the University of Newcastle's Institute for Energy and Resources, north of Sydney. It will tap the CO2 trapped at Orica's ammonium nitrate plant in Newcastle.
The $9 million venture will be jointly finance by the federal and NSW governments and Orica. They will each provide $3 million over four years.
Mineral carbonation involves speeding up the earth's natural carbon sink mechanism, combining CO2 with low-grade minerals to create inert carbonates similar to common baking soda.
"The technology is proven in the lab and we now want to see if we can scale it to reduce the cost to be in line with a future carbon price," Courier Mail quoted John Dawe, chief executive officer of Mineral Carbonation International.
He pointed out that their technique is different from those use by other carbon capturing countries which merely stores the C02 underground, while they will permanently transform the carbon dioxide emissions into something more useful.