Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


John S Gierke


The feasibility of carbon sequestration in cement kiln dust (CKD) was investigated in a series of batch and column experiments conducted under ambient temperature and pressure conditions. The significance of this work is the demonstration that alkaline wastes, such as CKD, are highly reactive with carbon dioxide (CO2). In the presence of water, CKD can sequester greater than 80% of its theoretical capacity for carbon without any amendments or modifications to the waste. Other mineral carbonation technologies for carbon sequestration rely on the use of mined mineral feedstocks as the source of oxides. The mining, pre-processing and reaction conditions needed to create favorable carbonation kinetics all require significant additions of energy to the system. Therefore, their actual net reduction in CO2 is uncertain. Many suitable alkaline wastes are produced at sites that also generate significant quantities of CO2. While independently, the reduction in CO2 emissions from mineral carbonation in CKD is small (~13% of process related emissions), when this technology is applied to similar wastes of other industries, the collective net reduction in emissions may be significant.

The technical investigations presented in this dissertation progress from proof of feasibility through examination of the extent of sequestration in core samples taken from an aged CKD waste pile, to more fundamental batch and microscopy studies which analyze the rates and mechanisms controlling mineral carbonation reactions in a variety of fresh CKD types. Finally, the scale of the system was increased to assess the sequestration efficiency under more pilot or field-scale conditions and to clarify the importance of particle-scale processes under more dynamic (flowing gas) conditions. A comprehensive set of material characterization methods, including thermal analysis, Xray diffraction, and X-ray fluorescence, were used to confirm extents of carbonation and to better elucidate those compositional factors controlling the reactions. The results of these studies show that the rate of carbonation in CKD is controlled by the extent of carbonation. With increased degrees of conversion, particle-scale processes such as intraparticle diffusion and CaCO3 micropore precipitation patterns begin to limit the rate and possibly the extent of the reactions. Rates may also be influenced by the nature of the oxides participating in the reaction, slowing when the free or unbound oxides are consumed and reaction conditions shift towards the consumption of less reactive Ca species. While microscale processes and composition affects appear to be important at later times, the overall degrees of carbonation observed in the wastes were significant (> 80%), a majority of which occurs within the first 2 days of reaction. Under the operational conditions applied in this study, the degree of carbonation in CKD achieved in column-scale systems was comparable to those observed under ideal batch conditions. In addition, the similarity in sequestration performance among several different CKD waste types indicates that, aside from available oxide content, no compositional factors significantly hinder the ability of the waste to sequester CO2.

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Geology Commons