Science Makes Carbon Recycling Breakthrough In Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Science Makes Carbon Recycling Breakthrough In Iceland

Published June 10, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

New research conducted in Iceland has yielded some very promising results in the field of carbon recycling.

According to the findings, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, injecting CO2 into basalt rocks showed a remarkable success rate that exceeded scientific estimates.

“We find that over 95% of the CO2 injected into the CarbFix site in Iceland was mineralized to carbonate minerals in less than 2 years,” the abstract reads in part. “This result contrasts with the common view that the immobilization of CO2 as carbonate minerals within geologic reservoirs takes several hundreds to thousands of years. Our results, therefore, demonstrate that the safe long-term storage of anthropogenic CO2 emissions through mineralization can be far faster than previously postulated.”

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(Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science)

While more research is still needed, the results thus far have been very promising, and could strike a considerable blow for reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It may also have applications in other parts of the world.

“The results of this study demonstrate that nearly complete in situ CO2 mineralization in basaltic rocks can occur in less than 2 years,” the study concludes. “Once stored within carbonate minerals, the leakage risk is eliminated and any monitoring program of the storage site can be significantly reduced, thus enhancing storage security and potentially public acceptance. Natural aqueous fluids in basalts and those at the CarbFix site tend to be at or close to equilibrium with respect to calcite, limiting its redissolution. The scaling up of this basaltic carbon storage method requires substantial quantities of water and porous basaltic rocks. Both are widely available on the continental margins, such as off the coast of the Pacific Northwest of the United States.”


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