International geochemistry experts believe Iceland could become a global leader in the field of carbon binding in basalt rock. The industry could potentially be worth as much internationally as the oil industry, as countries try new ways to reduce their carbon emissions. Work is underway to begin binding carbon dioxide emissions from the Hellisheidavirkjun geothermal power station in basalt rocks early next year.
The project has been underway since 2007, MBL.is reports, and is a co-operation between Reykjavik Energy, the University of Iceland and two overseas universities. The technique used means the carbon dioxide is calcified in the rocks, preventing it from mixing into the atmosphere as a gas.
According to Eric H. Oelker, president of the Association of European Geochemists, Icelandic knowledge in the nascent field could prove important all over the world.