Innovation: Diamonds Made From CO2 Emissions

A UK company named Skydiamond hopes to revolutionize the traditional diamond mining industry by using carbon capture technology to do just that. The company calls it a ‘zero-impact diamond’ because the process pulls carbon dioxide right out of the air.

Although, a diamond traps only a modest amount of carbon — one carat contains just 200 milligrams. Pure carbon can take many forms — it all depends on how the atoms are arranged. Graphite is arranged into multiple layers, graphene in a single layer, and if it’s rolled-up, it forms carbon nanotubes. But when each carbon forms 4 strong bonds in a tetrahedral structure, it becomes a diamond.

Most natural diamonds were formed over a billion years ago, more than 120 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface. This is where intense temperature and pressure cause carbon atoms to strongly bond together and arrange into crystal structures. Volcanic eruptions bring these crystals embedded in magma to the surface. When the magma cools, it hardens in long vertical shafts called kimberlite pipes. And these pipes are what’s sought after in the mining industry.

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