In a unique approach to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions a facility in Iceland is capturing carbon dioxide and permanently storing it in stone beneath the Earth’s surface.
The CarbFix facility in the nation’s capital, Reykjavik, takes the greenhouse gases produced by the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, processes it into water containing dissolved carbon dioxide and pumps it over a kilometre underground. There the water reacts with the balsatic rock foundations in the Earth’s crust and petrifies into stone.
The facility was launched in 2014 following a successful 2-year trial program during which the process was proven effective. CarbFix now processes around 12,000 tons of gases produced by the Hellisheidi plant that would have otherwise ended up in the atmosphere.
Once CO2 is transformed into carbonate minerals in solid state, such as in this process, it has been permanently removed from the atmosphere. Only massive seismic events or deliberate human interventions could transform the minerals back into their gaseous state.
With help from external researchers the company is now looking at options that could capture carbon directly from the air and process it in the same way. By doing so, huge amounts of carbon dioxide could be permanently removed from the atmosphere.
“It’s definitely not ‘the solution’, but it’s one of the solutions that can be used in the fight against climate change,” Reykjavik Energy representative Sandra Snæbjörnsdóttir told PRI’s The World.
“And we will need all the solutions possible for this huge problem to be solved.”
- While carbon sequestration projects like this will be a crucial part of our response to climate change, it’s worth remembering that trees are the real masters of carbon storage. Do your bit and plant a tree this National Tree Day.
- If you want advice on how to live sustainably, check out our tips and resources on Sustainable Resource Use for a Circular Economy.
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