Fast and secure sequestration of CO2

The CarbFix project at ON Power‘s Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant has received international prominence following a publication on its findings in Science magazine. Mineralization of CO2 proves to be much faster than previously thought.

It is possible to permanently store CO2 as minerals in basaltic rocks and over 95% of CO2 injected is mineralized within two years, instead of centuries or millennia as previously thought. These are the conclusions of an article published today in Science, one of the most widespread and best known science journals in the world. The article focuses on the CarbFix project that has been in progress at Hellisheiði power plant since 2007.

Following the scientific magazine‘s publication on June 10th 2016, various prominent media outlets covered the project, including New York TimesThe Guardian and Washington Post.

The main author of the article is Jürg Matter, one of many scientists that have worked on the project. The project manager is Dr. Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, a scientist at department of R&D at Reykjavik Energy (OR). OR has been the main sponsor of the CarbFix project since its beginning. Numerous scientists, skilled workers and technicians from OR have participated in the project, and at later stages, personnel from ON, OR’s subsidiary.

A primary goal of the CarbFix project is to apply the natural CO2 mineralization process already observed in basaltic rocks. Reducing industrial CO2 emissions is considered one of the main challenges of this century. By capturing CO2 from variable sources and injecting it into suitable deep rock formations, the carbon released is returned back where it came from instead of releasing it to the atmosphere.

To address this challenge, the CarbFix project is designed to optimize industrial methods for mineralizing CO2 in basaltic rocks through a combined program consisting of, field scale injection of CO2 charged waters into basaltic rocks, laboratory based experiments, study of natural analogues and state of the art geochemical modeling. A second and equally important goal of this research project is to generate the human capital and expertise to apply the advances made in this project in the future.