This article needs to be updated.(April 2016)
CarbFix is a project in Iceland intended to lock away carbon dioxide by reacting it with basaltic rocks. Work on the project began in 2007. The CarbFix team involved American and Icelandic researchers including Iceland geologist Sigurdur Reynir Gislason serving as chief scientist, project technical manager Bergur Sigfusson, manager Juerg Matter who worked with Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and scientific overseer, Wallace S. Broecker (also with Columbia). Reykjavik Energy supplied almost half the $10 million spent thus far on CarbFix. Other sponsors included U.S. and Icelandic universities. In addition to finding a new method for permanent carbon dioxide storage, another objective of the project was to train scientists for years of work to come.
Carbonated water is injected into the rock and hopefully reacts with the Ca and Mg present. This is called enhanced weathering, calcium and magnesium are present in basalt - but rarely as simple oxides where the equations would be simple:
- CaO + CO2 → CaCO3
- MgO + CO2 → MgCO3
- Mg2SiO4 + 2CO2 → 2MgCO3 + SiO2
as a result CO2 is locked away with no dangerous byproducts.
This 10 million dollar project commenced carbon injection in 2012. The funding was supplied by the University of Iceland, Columbia University, France's National Centre of Scientific Research, the United States Department of Energy, the EU, Scandinavian funds and Reykjavik Energy.
The nearby Hengill volcano, generated a swarm of low magnitude earthquakes as a result of pumping water without the CO2, with 250 quakes being reported on 13 September 2011. There have been earthquakes reported there due to the water pumping previously. Proceedings at the 2010 World Geothermal Congress reported that reinjection at Hellisheidi had induced seismic activity.
Another pilot plant (CarbFix2 ) started up in October 2017 at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. CarbFix2 was designed to capture up to 50 tons of CO2 from the air, dissolve it in water and inject it over 700 metres underground into basaltic rocks. The CO2 would react with the basalt and form solid carbonate minerals.
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