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Carbon Sequestration Project Uses Water to Turn CO2 into Rocks

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carbfix_methodCarbFix, a project conducted by US and Icelandic researchers, has developed a new approach to carbon sequestration and storage that could completely remove it from the environment. All we need is water, they say.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)  techniques were identified in the latest IPCC report as the measure with most probably the highest potential to prevent devastating climate change. Years before the report was released, scientists from around the world were already working on developing the techniques and making plans and strategies for the best implementation.

Unfortunately, one problem has persist for as long as CCS has come in the picture, and that is the disposal or removal of already stored carbon. The biggest problem here is that while being kept somewhere, the possibility of the gas escaping back into the atmosphere is quite high.

Now, scientists from Iceland claim to have found a way to not only store but also completely remove carbon dioxide by converting it into solid rocks. The process is not new, in fact it has been known for many years. The idea behind it is to inject liquid carbon dioxide into porous rocks and let it for calcite after n-thousands of years. CarbFix, however, claims to have found a way to speed this up.

Their approach is called “geological soda machine”, and essentially involves adding carbonated water. Because this water is highly acidic, it acts just like any soda and speeds up the process of mineralization by helping the release of calcium from the basalt rocks.

Over the past two years or so, the guys behind CarbFix have been conducting field test, Currently, the team is analyzing cores of rocks for calcite, while injecting 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide captured from a local power plant.

Although the new carbon sequestration technique sounds quite promising, it is way to early for anyone to say whether the claims and promises for leak-free technology are legitimate. And although everyone says that if the stored carbon dioxide happens to get released back into the atmosphere, we will be right back where we started, it actually is not quite the case.

Yes, the same amount of CO2 will be released, as if no measure was in place, but a lot of water and money would have been wasted as well. Is it all worth the effort? Well, it is better than just sitting there and waiting for a miracle. Let’s hope it is successful.

Image (c) CarbFix

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