JUN 12, 2016 6:18 PM PDT

Project CarbFix: Capturing CO2 in Underground Stone

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Climate change is a pressing issue that the world has to deal with soon, otherwise the planet is in for some major permanent changes to its ecology. One of the largest driving factors behind climate change is the excess of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) that is building up in the atmosphere. These gasses warm up and trap heat inside of our atmosphere.
 
Because the all the plants in the world don’t seem to be able to be enough to deal with all the carbon dioxide, a new experiment dubbed Project CarbFix is underway that might let the ground you stand on act as a tool for preventing too much CO2 from accumulating in our atmosphere.

A new plant has successfully turned CO2 gas into rock by pumping it underground, in what could be a climate change breakthrough.

 Image Credit: J. Matter/Science

So far, the project has shown that carbon dioxide gas can be pumped underground with water (H2O) into volcanic rock orbasalts, and a chemical reaction inside of the rocks will allow it to solidify into a rocky form.
 
Does the project look promising? According to what the team had to say in Science, apparently so.
 
95% of 220 tonnes of CO2 gas that was pumped underground at a test site in Iceland had reportedly turned into limestone within just two years after the process occurred. The results show that this could be a very effective way to prevent excess CO2 gas from getting into our atmosphere, but still, all that carbon byproduct has to go somewhere.
 
"This means that we can pump down large amounts of CO2 and store it in a very safe way over a very short period of time," co-author Martin Stute of Columbia University said. "In the future, we could think of using this for power plants in places where there's a lot of basalt - and there are many such places."
 
The method is one of many Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solutions that can help with greenhouse gas impact on our planet.
 
According to the researchers who were involved in the experiment, there are enough basalts around the globe to use this process and seriously cut back on CO2 emissions. They’re found not only near the shorelines of every major continent, but also across the sea floor all around the world.
 


For what it’s worth, such a change in how we deal with CO2 byproducts from power plants and other sources would mean the commercial energy industry would need to spend a lot of money to implement the systems. Nevertheless, if it could be achieved, it could work alongside plants to help put an end to what seems like a grim fate for Earth from all the unwanted carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that keeps warming the planet and is slowly changing its ecology.

Source: Science Magazine, BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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