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Naturally occurring bacteria converts CO2 into calcium carbonate

By

February 23, 2009

Calcium carbonate in powder form

Calcium carbonate in powder form

Expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are gaining momentum around the world as a way to combat greenhouse gas emissions (or is that sweep them under the carpet?), India’s Economic Times has reported that a team of Indian scientists have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria that could help fight global warming by converting CO2 into calcium carbonate (CaCO3) - a common compound found as rock all the world over.

The scientists found that when the bacteria, which has been extracted from a number of places including brick kilns in the Indian city of Satna, is used as an enzyme it converts CO2 into CaCO3. Dr Anjana Sharma says the resulting CaCO3 can fetch minerals of economic value, as CaCO3 has a variety of uses from being used in the purification of iron from iron ore, neutralizing acidic effects in soil and water, and even as a dietary calcium supplement or antacid.

Project coordinator, Dr Sadhana Rayalu, says, "The enzyme can be put to work in any situation, like in a chamber fitted inside a factory chimney through which CO2 would pass before being emitted into the atmosphere, and it would convert the greenhouse gas into calcium carbonate.” The team is now studying the economic viability, cloning, expression and single-step purification for the bacteria. Fingers crossed it’s cheaper and easier than CCS and therefore can be widely adopted, even in developing nations.

The team has published its findings in the Indian Journal of Microbiology and its paper has been accepted for publication in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
3 Comments

I HAVE SOME VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS:

Currently, total CO2 emissions are in excess of 25 GigaTons/yr

1) In order to reduce Greenhouse Gas effects, we should capture at least a couple GigaTons of CO2 per year - in this case, to transform it into even more gigatons of CaCO3

- from basic Chemistry: CO2 molecular weight is 44, while CaCO3 weighs 100!

- this means, if we convert 1GigaTon of CO2 into CaCO3, it would amount to 2.27GigaTons

2) Where would the huge amount of Calcium come from? Bacteria do not CREATE calcium, so we must provide it;

3) The resulting vast amount of calcium carbonate should be discarded somewhere... we would never have human demand for so much of it. Under WHICH carpet?

On the other hand, whichever amount of CaCO3 we USE, it WILL be converted back to CO2, so STORAGE is the only way out.

sssso, here we are, back to CO2 (indirect) storage, after all.

Rubin
24th February, 2009 @ 10:07 am PST

Dear Rube,

Calcium is as common as dirt. Calcium carbonate would be more dirt. If your psychology degree provided some science in those filthy religious discussions of psychobabble that passes for a college education in psychology, you'd know that and not waste everybody's time, and everybody's loathing on you. Only crazed torpedo heads ever thought CCS was generally adoptable in the first place. The whole group has been tolerated like a dodgerry old drooler in the basement for years.

TogetherinParis
22nd May, 2009 @ 10:04 am PDT

THIS MAKES CO2 THE RAW MATERIAL FOR CaCO3 WHICH CAN BE USED AS A

SUBSTITUTE FOR LAUNDRY BLEACH.

Facebook User
15th December, 2010 @ 06:09 pm PST
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