A radical new technique promises a more secure and cheaper method of burying CO2 emissions underground instead of storing it as gas.
CO2 has been injected underground and turned quickly into stone, demonstrating a radical new way of tackling climate change. The unique process promises a cheaper and secure way of burying CO2 as compared to fossil fuel burning underground where it cannot warm the planet.
The new research pumped carbon dioxide into the volcanic rock and hasten the natural process where the basalts reacted with the gas to form carbonate minerals which make up the limestone. The researchers were surprised by how quick all the gas changed into a solid matter within two years as compared to thousands of years of natural process.
According to lead researcher Juerg Matter of the University of Southhampton. The research was published in the journal “Science”. Matter also said that the only thing delaying CCS was the lack of action of the politicians, like putting a penalties on carbon emissions. He also said that the engineering and the technology of CCS is available and ready to be deployed. He questioned why there is no deployment of such projects … it’s because there are no incentives to do it.
The Iceland project has already scaled up to process about 10,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. The basalt rocks used are very common around the world, these rocks also form the ocean floor and parts of the land. Martin Stute of Columbia University and member of the research team said that in the future, they could think of using this for power plants in places where there are lots of basalt rocks.
The testing was made in the Columbia River Basalts which have extensive deposits in the States of Washington and Oregon. India also has many polluting coal power plants have potential since they have huge basalt deposits in the Deccan Traps.
The researchers injected 230 tonnes of the gas, which was dissolved in water to prevent it from escaping and down into the basalt to a depth of 400 to 500 meters. The research team used tracer chemicals to determine that over 95% of carbon dioxide was turned into stone within 2 years. Edda Aradottir, who heads the project for Reykjavik Energy said that it’s amazingly fast and it was a welcome surprise.