Making Sense of Energy

Iceland Carbon Dioxide Storage Project

Iceland Carbon Dioxide Storage Project Locks Away Gas, and Fast

As the concern for climate change increases, so have discussions on carbon capture and sequestration. An example would be removing carbon dioxide from a coal-burning power plant’s smokestack and transporting it deep underground so it wouldn’t be emitted into the atmosphere and continue to contribute to global warming.

There have been some issues developing this costly technology and concerns that carbon dioxide in gas or liquid form pumped underground might eventually escape back into the atmosphere.  Constant monitoring would be required at all times.

This article in the New York Times shared that:

“…scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and other institutions have come up with a different way to store CO2 that might eliminate that problem. Their approach involves dissolving the gas with water and pumping the resulting mixture — soda water, essentially — down into certain kinds of rocks, where the CO2 reacts with the rock to form a mineral called calcite. By turning the gas into stone, scientists can lock it away permanently.

One key to the approach is to find the right kind of rocks. Volcanic rocks called basalts are excellent for this process, because they are rich in calcium, magnesium and iron, which react with CO2.”

Researchers and a utility in Iceland have been tasting the technology through a project called CarbFix, using carbon dioxide that comes up naturally in the hot magma that generates one of their geothermal plants.  In 2012 they pumped 250 tonnes of CO2 mixed with water underground.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE.

The CarbFix project uses carbon dioxide that bubbles up naturally with the hot magma that powers the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station in Iceland. Credit Bara Kristinsdottir for The New York Times

The CarbFix project uses carbon dioxide that bubbles up naturally with the hot magma that powers the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station in Iceland. Credit Bara Kristinsdottir for The New York Times