Iceland’s response to climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
GIANT Silver golf balls sit in the middle of a stony, bleak Martian environment, steam rising all around them. You feel as if you’ve wandered onto a Star Wars set. But Hellisheidi, a pioneering science fiction project 30 minutes outside of Reykjavik, is far from Hollywood fantasy. It also gives hope to a world on the verge of a climate disaster by turning greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into stone.
It’s one of the first carbon capture and storage systems to show real promise, and geochemist Dr. Martin Voigt of the University of Iceland believes the potential is huge and global.
Martin, 34, is employed by Carbfix, a company that has injected 70,000 tons of CO2 into Iceland’s volcanic rocks since 2014.
When the gas is dissolved in water, it combines with natural minerals to form strong calcite, trapping it underground for all time. The potential, according to Carbfix, is enormous. “The global storage potential is bigger than the emissions from all fossil fuel combustion on Earth,” it says.
“Europe could theoretically store at least 4,000 billion tons of CO2 in rocks, whereas the United States could theoretically store at least 7,500 billion tons,” according to the report.
To put it in perspective, worldwide CO2 emissions were over 34 billion tons last year.
We witnessed CO2 being stored in the pores of a piece of grey volcanic rock called basalt, which had been speckled with white calcite.
Carbfix has only used 0.01 percent of the potential storage capacity in Iceland, which is almost entirely made up of volcanic rock.
The company now intends to expand its CO2 emissions from 12,000 to three million tons per year. It proposes to capture CO2 at abroad factories starting in 2025, transport it to Iceland in liquid form on renewable energy-powered ships, and petrify it near Keflavik airport.
“This won’t be the only solution to climate change,” Martin, a native of Stuttgart, Germany, said. Carbfix is one of many remedies that will be required. We still have a long way to go in terms of reducing emissions.
“However, for many organizations, capturing CO2 and safely storing it underground is both cheaper and more efficient.
“When you consider how much basalt Iceland has, it could easily store all of the greenhouse gas emissions that the Paris Climate Agreement aims to reduce. But basalt is found everywhere.”Brinkwire Summary News”.