Scientists in Iceland turn CO2 into rock to combat climate change

In a unique experiment, scientists from Iceland have discovered a new way to trap the greenhouse gas (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground by changing it into rock.

The new way was discovered as by Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions as part of a pilot program called CarbFix project.

The pilot program was launched in 2012 at the Hellisheidi power plant- the world’s largest geothermal facility in Iceland.

Key Facts

  • In the CarbFix project, scientists pumped CO2 and water, 540 metre underground into volcanic rock at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
  • In this method, CO2 is dissolved with water (termed as carbonation) is pumped into volcanic rocks called basalts.
  • Later, the CO2 solidifies turning into a solid mineral (calcite), which can then be stored. In the research it was found that 95% of the gas was captured and converted in two years.

Significance

This technique the speedy carbonation has potential to combat climate change and may provide a safer, faster way to sequester CO2 and limit global warming. In future, it could be a viable way to store CO2 underground permanently and without risk of leakage.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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