The production of precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) from steel slag has been proposed as a potential method of simultaneously reducing the CO2 emissions from the steelmaking process and turning its waste stream into a valuable product. On average the production of one ton of steel results in two tons of CO2 emissions and 600 kg of slag. Globally, more than 400 Mt of steel slag are produced annually. If all the slag were used for the production of PCC, 64 Mt CO2 could be utilized and 145 Mt of calcium carbonate would be produced. In 2014 the research group Energy Engineering and Environmental Protection at Aalto University in Finland has designed, constructed and tested the world's first mineral carbonation pilot plant test facility that converts steel slag and CO2 into PCC. In batch mode the pilot plant can handle up to 20 kg of solid steel slag and 190 L of liquid solvent, and it can produce about 10 kg of calcium carbonate. The solvent can be regenerated and reused in the calcium extraction stage, which makes the process economically more feasible. Almost 80% of the calcium in the slag was extracted, while more than 70% of the CO2 was utilized and converted into PCC. In high temperature carbonation tests, ammonia gas was detected from the flue gases. At 60 °C more than 2 vol.% of NH3 was detected in the flue gas, and at 50 °C it was 0.65 vol.%, while at 45 °C the NH3 concentration in the flue gas was only 0.11 vol.%. To avoid ammonia evaporation, aragonite PCC can be produced at 45 °C by optimizing the CO2 flow rate. The paper presents the process design as well as the early results achieved from the pilot plant. The paper also presents technical challenges that occurred during the scale-up work and experiments.
- CO sequestration
- Green technology
- Mineral carbonation
- Pilot plant
- Precipitated calcium carbonate