Icelandic scientists experiment with new ways to inject carbon

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A group of Icelandic researchers have been testing a new method of carbon storage, one that can hopefully help curb the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and combat climate change.

The test site is located in the vicinity of Iceland’s largest geothermal plant, the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station located in in the southwestern portion of the country near Reykjavik.

For the project, known as CarbFix, run by The Earth Institute at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, carbon dioxide produced during power generation is mixed with water and injected into the basalt layer underground in dome-covered boreholes. When water and carbon dioxide are mixed together, the solution becomes acidic. Once the solution is injected into basalt, a very reactive rock, calcium is released, resulting in the production of calcite, a carbonate mineral.

Mineral carbonation is a natural process, but scientists working for the CarbFix project accelerate the rate of mineral carbonation with technology. In theory, this method of carbon storage will not incur any monitoring costs because the risk of leakage is very low.

The mineralisation technology looks promising, as past experiments have shown that carbon dioxide was mineralised in less than a year. However, cost will be an obstacle as a huge amount of water is needed in the process.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station
2. Dome-covered boreholes
3. Water and carbon dioxide injected into basalt
4. Chemical reaction
5. Calcite sample

VOICEOVER (in English):


“A group of Icelandic researchers have been testing a new method of carbon storage that can hopefully help curb the emission of greenhouse gases and combat climate change.”


“The test site is located in the vicinity of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station. Carbon dioxide produced during power generation is injected into dome-covered boreholes.”


“When water and carbon dioxide are mixed together, the solution becomes acidic. Once such a solution is injected into basalt, a very reactive rock…”


“... calcium is released, resulting in the production of calcite.”

“Carbon dioxide will be deposited in calcite, a carbonate mineral. In theory, this method of carbon storage will not incur any monitoring costs because the risk of leakage is very low.”

SOURCES: New York Times, Beacon Reader
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/science/burying-a-mountain-of-co2.html
https://www.beaconreader.com/flux/a-planetary-fix