An international team of scientists has managed to make a method of storing carbon dioxide emissions into earth a lot safer. They demonstrated in a recent experiment that the nasty emissions can be stored underground and turned from gaseous to solid state within several months.
Critics of the method had said that the stored CO2 was unstable, could get back into atmosphere or cause explosions.
But researchers successfully tested a new carbon-storing method at a power plant in Iceland. The power-plant, although it generates heat and energy from the volcanic activity underneath it, it is also releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other volcanic gases.
So, Iceland authorities agreed in 2012 to run a project dubbed Carbonfix which showed great promise in getting the area rid of the unwanted CO2 emissions. Earlier this year, researchers involved in the project reported that the carbon dioxide they stored underground less than two years ago had solidified into basalt, a volcanic rock.
Detractors of the new method had claimed that the gas would need hundreds of years to become a rock.
Scientists agreed to tell us how they did it. They explained that they mixed the volcanic gases with water and injected the resulting solution into the thick layer of basalt beneath the power plant.
They knew from previous research, that carbon mixed with water and basalt results in a chalky mineral through natural precipitation processes. But the research team had no idea how long the precipitation processes may take. To their surprise, they learned that CO2 turned into a rock in less than a couple of years, rather than hundreds of years or millennia.
Yet, the method has one major limitation: it can only be applied to power plants and other facilities that are in the vicinity of a basalt layer. Researchers however said that the rock is not as rare as one may think. Except volcanoes, it can also be found on sea floor.
Experts also say that basalt accounts for 10 percent of rocks found on continents.
The newly tested method may become a precious aid in the fight against climate change since other attempts to capture and store greenhouse gas emissions either utterly failed or showed poor results.
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