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Mass, enthalpy, and chemical-derived emission flows in mineral processing

Reference Type: 

Journal Article

Kane, Seth, and Sabbie A. Miller. n.d. “Mass, Enthalpy, and Chemical-Derived Emission Flows in Mineral Processing.” Journal of Industrial Ecology n/a (n/a). Accessed March 20, 2024.

The production of materials from mineral resources is a significant contributor to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This contribution is driven primarily by chemical CO2 emissions from the conversion of mineral resources and emissions tied to energy demands for material processing. In this work, we synthesize the thermodynamically required enthalpy and chemically derived emissions of mineral processing and consumption in the United States. We quantify mass, enthalpy, and emissions flows for minerals described by the US Geological Survey, with 882 mass flows and 155 chemical reactions analyzed. In total, 503 PJ of enthalpy is thermodynamically required for 398 Mt of chemically converted material consumption in the United States, resulting in 129 Mt of chemically derived CO2 emissions. Additionally, 249 PJ of fuel resources such as coke are stoichiometrically required for the chemical conversion of minerals. These enthalpy requirements and CO2 emissions are primarily from high-mass consumption materials such as cement, carbon steel, fertilizer, and aluminum. Cumulatively, the dataset synthesized in this work provides a complete view of the chemical requirements of mineral processing and can aid in guiding decarbonization or sustainable growth in critical minerals sectors, including construction materials and materials for energy storage or generation.

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