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Nature can turn carbon dioxide into rock, but it takes thousands upon thousands of years. Scientists in Iceland may have just figured out how to do it in less than two.
In a radical new approach, described Thursday in the journal Science, scientists mix carbon dioxide with water and then inject the slurry into basaltic rock, where it solidifies into veins
[. . .]
In a 2012-2013 pilot project, christened Carbfix, they disposed of 250 tons of carbon dioxide, mixed with water and the other pollutant emitted by Hellisheidi, hydrogen sulfide. They sunk the cocktail 400 to 800 meters (a quarter mile to half a mile) below ground, where it began reacting with the minerals in the basalt and solidifying. Two years later, it had almost entirely turned to stone.“Over two years, 95 percent to 98 percent was mineralized.”
To put this in perspective, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a 2005 report predicted that it would take between 100 to 1,000 years for this mineral carbonation to take place.
“With our method, storage cost is about $17 per ton of carbon dioxide,” says Matter, “which is a little bit higher than traditional carbon dioxide injection – about $5 to $10.”
the pricetag for the “capture” phase, which can cost up to $150 per ton of carbon dioxide.
Chief among the concerns is the amount of water required: about 25 tons for every ton of carbon dioxide turned to stone. As many fossil fuel-heavy areas also suffer water scarcity, notes Veysey, this could be problematic.
One solution could be the use of seawater, though salt water's efficacy remains untested, says Columbia's Dr. Stute.
Only about 10 percent of continental rock is composed of this porous stone, though it accounts for almost all the seafloor.
this pioneering method turns the carbon dioxide to stone, storing it in a permanent fashion, it eliminates costs associated with monitoring for leakage.
CO2 injected deep underground turns to rock – and stays there
The finding could help tackle climate change, especially in countries such as India that have lots of basalt rock and little sedimentary rock suitable for CO2 storage.
What’s more, the team found that when CO2 dissolved in water is injected into hot basalt deep underground, it rapidly reacts with the rock to form carbonates. It would remain safely stored even if this reaction didn’t happen, says team member Juerg Matter of the University of Southampton in the UK, but turning it to stone is even better.
originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: Liquesence
interesting. if they could turn it into production, they could see about making a building material from it. alternately, they could just start pumping it into ocean floors.
my concern is groundwater. even things that are mineralized can be dissolved.
I think the ice age is a far worse threat than the temperature rise, but the ice age threat is a few thousand years off so we tend not to worry about it. I think it may take thousands of years to come up with a solution to the more serious problem of the next ice age, so it's not too soon to start thinking about it in my opinion. It would be better if we can find ways of storing the CO2 where it's more easily retrievable when it's needed.
Now, carbon levels are approaching 400 ppmv as the burning of fossil fuels pumps more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Even if the rate of growth could be moderated enough to stabilize levels at about 550 ppmv, average temperatures might well rise by about 5°C–with devastating effects for us earthlings, such as rising sea levels and dramatic changes in weather patterns.
But even that warming will not stave off the eventual return of huge glaciers, because ice ages last for millennia and fossil fuels will not.In about 300 years, all available fossil fuels may well have been consumed.Over the following centuries, excess carbon dioxide will naturally dissolve into the oceans or get trapped by the formation of carbonate minerals. Such processes won’t be offset by the industrial emissions we see today, and atmospheric carbon dioxide will slowly decline toward preindustrial levels. In about 2,000 years, when the types of planetary motions that can induce polar cooling start to coincide again, the current warming trend will be a distant memory.
originally posted by: bbarkow
How about we just let the plants use it?
Why would you make combustion engines and coal plants if there's no more petroleum or coal? Reserves of those resources aren't anticipated to last thousands of years.
originally posted by: Grimpachi
a reply to: Arbitrageur
I don't think we need to worry about storing too much carbon for the future.
If we manage to go green with renewables and one day far off into the future we find we need more C02 to combat an ice age I am sure the technology will still exist for combustion engines and coal plants.
originally posted by: bbarkow
How about we just let the plants use it?
several companies are now attempting to put the wasted [CO2] gas to good use instead of simply burying it underground.
It’s all part of a new wave in the industry known as the circular economy.
US company Novomer, along with Albemarle Corporation, successfully made polypropylene carbonate (PPC) using carbon dioxide waste and is already manufacturing with the help of these polyols. They produce better quality adhesives for industrial use. The research for the project was conducted with funding from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy. And a chemicals company based in Germany has been successful in using CO2 to create polyurethanes. The company, Bayer, believes this can be used to create soft foam used in mattresses.
A handful of companies are also getting creative in the ways that carbon dioxide is used once it is captured from coal plant fumes. Dry CO2 cleaning, for example, is a new and innovative technology that utilizes recycled carbon dioxide in a number of creative industrial applications.
This technology uses the gas for cooling machine tools, cleaning complex medical instruments and electronic devices, selective extraction and even eco-friendly dry cleaning.
David Goldberg, a geophysicist at Lamont, has been leading off-shore studies to map basalt reservoirs with the potential to store carbon that would mineralize over time. He has proposed burying CO2 in several sites off the U.S. East Coast about a mile below the seafloor, and he is now working on one of five Department of Energy projects using seismic data to determine how much CO2 could be stored in those and other off-shore reservoirs.
Goldberg's team is also proposing the first test of off-shore basalt storage, a project that would pump 1 million tons of CO2 into basalt off the Pacific Northwest.
"Iceland was a key demonstration. The holy grail is off-shore," Goldberg said. The storage potential in the oceans is immense, and it moves the process away from communities. It also avoids the need for water resources. Where the Iceland project added fresh water to the captured CO2, off-shore projects could mix seawater with purified CO2 to speed up the reaction time.
Kelemen estimates that by speeding up the process, peridotite could be used to store 1 billion tons of CO2 per cubic kilometer of rock per year.