In east China’s Zhejiang Province, a pilot project that can store CO2 in bricks recently passed a 72-hour operational test. This is one of the country’s main projects to capture and use gas emitted by coal-fired power plants.

The project was built at a power plant in Lanxi District affiliated with Zhejiang Provincial Energy Group Company (Zhejiang Energy). Its technology team is made up of researchers from the company and institutions such as Zhejiang University and Baima Lake Laboratory.

According to Zhejiang Energy, the project was designed to capture 15,000 tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to the total absorbed by 10 square kilometers of forest each year. Around two-thirds of the CO2 captured is used to produce air bricks, which are lightweight, insulating and durable building materials. Another third is the raw material used to produce food-grade dry ice for transporting food and medicine through the cold chain.

According to project researchers, the gas can react with brick materials to form stable solid compounds under certain conditions, thus achieving permanent storage of CO2 in the building material. “Just as we make steamed bread, we replace the water vapor with CO2 to treat the bricks through a series of chemical reactions. CO2 can be permanently sealed in the bricks,” said Chen Yaoji, director of a research institute at Zhejiang Energy.

CO2 treatment and storage technology reduces the proportion of quicklime and cement in the production process, thus reducing the cost. According to preliminary estimates, the total production cost is reduced by about 2 to 5 yuan (about 28 to 70 cents) per cubic meter compared with ordinary air bricks.

The green and low-carbon transformation of coal-fired power plants is an important support for reducing carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, said Liu Shenghui, president of Zhejiang Energy.


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