Carbon to stone

Scientists turn carbon dioxide into stone
Posted on Sunday, 12 June, 2016

Can CO2 emissions be stored underground ? Image Credit: PD – Alfred Palmer

The breakthrough could offer up a new way to help curb the level of global carbon dioxide emissions.

During a recent experiment in Iceland, scientists successfully demonstrated the technique by pumping carbon dioxide and water underground in to the rocks where reactions with the deep basalts converted the gas in to an immobile solid.

Even more impressive was the fact that this process took only a few months to occur.

“Of our 220 tonnes of injected CO2, 95% was converted to limestone in less than two years,” said study lead author Juerg Matter. “It was a huge surprise to all the scientists involved in the project, and we thought, ‘Wow! This is really fast’.”

So-called ‘carbon capture and storage’ solutions like this one could ultimately provide a way to help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released in to the atmosphere.

“You can find basalts on every continent and, certainly, you can find them offshore because all the oceanic crust – so below the seafloor – is all basaltic rocks,” said Dr Matter.

“In terms of the availability of basaltic rocks to take care of CO2 emissions globally – no problem.”

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