Self-sustaining carbon capture and mineralization via electrolytic carbonation of coal fly ash

Lu Lu, Yanfen Fang, Zhe Huang, Yingping Huang, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study presents a new electrolytic carbonation process to synergize the treatment of different waste streams generated by power plants, including fly ash, brine wastewater, and CO2. The acidity generated by electrolysis of brine electrolyte directly liberates calcium from fly ash. The metal ions balance the OH produced at the cathode to form hydroxide, which then fixes CO2 into high purity carbonate precipitates. Results show that electrolysis increased fly ash dissolution by 32.4% compared to the control with spontaneous dissolution of fly ash, and the carbonation process captured 89% more CO2 and increased capture capacity from 9.75 to 18.42 kg-CO2/t-fly ash in the NaCl electrolyte. The energy expenditure was 19.4–29.3 kJ/mol-CO2, lower than that required for sorbent or solvent based post-combustion carbon capture. The process takes advantage of all waste streams generated on site and can consolidate traditionally separated treatment processes to save costs, produce energy and value-added products, as well as generate carbon benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-335
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Carbon sequestration
  • Coal fly ash
  • Electrolytic carbonation
  • Hydrogen production
  • Mineralization


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