CO2 being pumped into Icelandic rocks

A project to pump carbon dioxide into the ground near to the Hellisheiði power station began at the end of January.

The idea is for the greenhouse gas to be bound into the basalt rock below the lava field as a new calciferous rock which will remain in place forever – and crucially, out of the atmosphere. This binding to rock process distinguishes the project from others which simply aim to store the gas underground; for example in empty natural gas wells.

The pumping operation is part of the CarbFix Project, which is an experimental scientific and industrial project run in Iceland by Reykjavík Energy, the University of Iceland, Columbia University from the USA, and the French national research council.

The project is aiming to find out what happens to carbon dioxide stored in the ground for a long time, in order to develop worldwide technology to help ease global warming, Ví reported.

The immediate aim of the project is to lower the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere from Hellisheiði. The project is funded from many different sources, including the US energy ministry and GEORG, the Icelandic umbrella organisation on geothermal research. Last year the project was also awarded an EU grant.

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