Storing carbon dioxide deep underground in rock form

Jun 17, 2010

As carbon dioxide continues to burgeon in the atmosphere causing the Earth's climate to warm, scientists are trying to find ways to remove the excess gas from the atmosphere and store it where it can cause no trouble.

Sigurdur Gislason of the University of Iceland has been studying the possibility of sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in basalt and presented his findings today to several thousand geochemists from around the world at the Goldschmidt Conference hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

is currently the most promising way to reduce greenhouse gases. Gislason leads an international team of scientists on the Carbfix Project, which aims at pumping carbon deep underground in southwest Iceland where it will mix with minerals and become rock. The project's goal is to find a storage solution that is long lasting, thermodynamically stable and environmentally benign.

An Icelandic is now hosting the pilot program. Gislason's project involves capturing and separating flue gases at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, transporting the gas, dissolving it in water, and injecting it at high pressures to a depth between 400 and 800 meters into a thick layer of basalt. Then he and his coworkers will verify and monitor the storage.

Carbon dioxide mixed with water forms carbonic acid (also known as carbonated water or soda water), which percolates through the rocks, dissolving some minerals and forming solid carbonates with them, thereby storing the carbon dioxide in rock form, said Gislason.

If successful, Gislason said, the experiment will be scaled up and can be used wherever is emitted. Currently, may be captured as a byproduct in processes such as petroleum refining. It can be stored in reservoirs, ocean and mature oilfields. However, many experts fear that CO2 may leak over time. Storage of CO2 as solid magnesium carbonates or calcium carbonates deep underground in basaltic rocks may provide a long-term and thermodynamically stable solution.

Explore further: Hurricane Edouard right environment for drone test (Update)

Provided by University of Tennessee at Knoxville

2.5 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Carbon capture has a sparkling future

Apr 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research shows that for millions of years carbon dioxide has been stored safely and naturally in underground water in gas fields saturated with the greenhouse gas. The findings - published ...

Trapping Greenhouse Gases (Without Leaks)

Nov 19, 2008

Of all the possible ways of reducing future greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most immediately feasible is carbon dioxide "sequestration," which involves compressing the gas into a liquid and piping it deep underground ...

Carbon study could help reduce harmful emissions

Feb 14, 2008

Earth scientists at The University of Manchester have found that carbon dioxide has been naturally stored for more than a million years in several gas fields in the Colorado Plateau and Rocky Mountains of the United States.

Recommended for you

Tree rings and arroyos

5 hours ago

A new GSA Bulletin study uses tree rings to document arroyo evolution along the lower Rio Puerco and Chaco Wash in northern New Mexico, USA. By determining burial dates in tree rings from salt cedar and wi ...

NASA image: Agricultural fires in the Ukraine

7 hours ago

Numerous fires (marked with red dots) are burning in Eastern Europe, likely as a result of regional agricultural practices. The body of water at the lower left of this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging ...

NASA marks Polo for a hurricane

7 hours ago

Hurricane Polo still appears rounded in imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect that to change.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sepp
not rated yet Jun 17, 2010
"Carbon sequestration is currently the most promising way to reduce greenhouse gases."

Isn't that a beauty of a statement. The only thing wrong with it - it's false.

Whatever happened to getting OFF carbon based fuels?

Is it so difficult to imagine a future with a difference?