Turning CO2 into Rock In Fight Against Climate Change

CO2 into Rock

In News

Scientists from Iceland are turning CO2 into a rock by mimicking a natural process at an accelerated rate.

In-Detail:

  • Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 is the major reason for global warming and climate change.
  • Naturally atmospheric CO2 entering the soil mineralizes to become carbonate.
  • But, the process takes thousands of years.
  • Now, scientists from Iceland, in an ambitious project called CarbFix were able to get the mineralized form of atmospheric CO2.
  • Using technology, they were able to accelerate the natural process of carbonate formation.
  • This has the potential to clean the air of CO2 and thereby reducing global warming.

The Process:

  • Scientists used Iceland’s Hellisheidi geothermal power plant for the project.
  • Located on the Hengill Volcano, the power plant lies above basalt rock which has many pores.
  • Also, the area is abundant with water which is used to run the turbines of the plant.
  • CO2 from the plant is captured by steam, it is then turned into a condensate and dissolved in large amounts of water.
  • This is effectively turning the water into soda. It is then pumped under high pressure into the porous rocks 1000 metres deep.
  • The water then solidifies when it comes in contact with calcium, iron, and magnesium in the basalt rocks.
  • Scientists say that almost all of the water pumped turned into carbonate rock within two years.
  • CarbFix is essentially a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

  • CCS technology captures CO2 emissions from power generating plants and other industrial activities.
  • It has three major components – Capturing CO2, Transporting CO2 and Storing CO2 (in deep underground structures or aquifers or caverns).

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Conclusion

  • The project is ambitious in its scope and the results are promising.
  • With the world facing an existential crisis due to rising temperatures and climate change, projects such as this give hope that humanity can reverse climate change.
  • Adapting such technologies on a large scale is the need of the hour.
  • But, feasibility is the big question.
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