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Mineral chemistry

The rich chemistry observed at the interface between some minerals (silicates, sulfides, oxides) and fluids mostly composed of water and CO2 has the potential to address simultaneously both  the problems of energy production and of CO2 emissions. Indeed, it can naturally generate a carbon-neutral chemical cycle (see Figure). Two advantages are that these minerals are cheap and abundant, and that H2 is generated in situ and does not need to be otherwise synthesised.

These reactions occur on a large scale during complex geological processes at oceanic floors and in extra-terrestrial environments. However, little information is available on their role in catalysing H2O and CO2 reduction at a molecular level.This project employs classical, quantum mechanical and semi-empirical methods to characterise the minerals and their surfaces, and to probe their reactivity in both gas and liquid phase.

Schematic representation of the carbon-neutral chemical cycle at the surface of a mineral
Schematic representation of the carbon-neutral chemical cycle at the surface of a mineral