Scientists Are Turning CO2 To Rocks And It Seems Effective

First Posted: Jun 28, 2016 06:08 AM EDT

Dealing with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is one of the more ambitious ways to help fight climate change, and it seems that carbon capture - the largely unproven fix - could suck the dreaded CO2 right out of the atmosphere, or from industrial plants. However, the problem with this is that it's expensive. Plus, there was also the problem storage and repurpose of the captured CO2 once it's extracted.

Today, however, there is a new technique that could drastically overhaul the carbon capture method to mitigate climate change. Science Alert noted that there is now a way to change this emissions into solid rock.

A team of international scientists working in Iceland has successfully demonstrated that CO2 emissions could be pumped underground and altered chemically in order to form solid stone. While this carbon storage is not a new thing, nobody expected the process to work quite so quickly.

The study, published in Science, noted that researchers explained their technique will take a few months - a timeframe that could help carbon capture and storage be a practical, workable solution. "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," said Columbia University hydrologist Martin Stute.

Held at the Hellisheidi power plant - the world's largest geothermal facility - the researchers said that they mixed carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide produced by the plant with water, and injected into the volcanic basalt underneath. When this basalt is exposed to CO2 and water, the carbon precipitates into a white, chalky solid.

Initially, researchers thought the process could take eight to 12 years to work, but proved to convert within a matter of months. Juerg Matter, geo-engineer from the University of Southampton and lead researcher said, "Our results show that between 95 and 98 percent of the injected CO2 was mineralized over the period of less than two years, which is amazingly fast."

This could be the way to finally be rid of pollution in the air, but until then, more studies need to be made to ensure the effectiveness of the study.

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