Iceland scientists turn CO2 into Stone under CarbFix Project

Jun 11, 2016 11:07 IST

Carbon-RockScientists of Iceland found a technique to capture and store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep underground by turning it into rock.


The technique will provide a safer, faster way to sequester CO2 and limit global warming. And it was identified it as a potentially significant way to combat climate change.

This method of the speedy carbonation could be a viable way to store CO2 underground permanently and without risk of leakage.

The research was published in the journal Science on 10 June 2016.


Finding of the Research

• Scientists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions tested the technique as part of a pilot program called the CarbFix project. It was launched in 2012 at the Hellisheidi power plant in Iceland.

• The Scientists injected 220 tons of CO2 into layers of basalt between 400 and 800 meters below the surface. They also added extra water to react with the gas to form a key driver of mineral reactions, carbonic acid.

• It triggered a reaction that rapidly forms new carbonate minerals, potentially locking up the gas forever.

• Within two years, 95 percent of the carbon injected into the basalt below the plant had solidified into stone.

• The process requires a significant amount of water 25 tons for every ton of CO2 which will become a hurdle in some parts of the world.

• The technique has to clear such high hurdles to become commercially viable.

About Carbon Sequestration

• It means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or capturing anthropogenic (human) CO2 from large-scale stationary sources like power plants before it is released to the atmosphere.

• Once captured, the CO2 gas (or the carbon portion of the CO2) is put into long-term storage.

• There are two major types of CO2 sequestration: terrestrial and geologic.

Terrestrial Sequestration

Terrestrial (or biologic) sequestration means using plants to capture CO 2 from the atmosphere and then storing it as carbon in the stems and roots of the plants as well as in the soil.

Geologic Sequestration
Geologic sequestration is putting CO 2 into long-term storage in geologic zones deep underground.

• Many projects around the world have sought to test carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way of curbing CO2 emissions from power plants. Very few have been scaled up, owing to prohibitive costs, estimated at 50 to 100 dollars per ton of CO2 sequestered.


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