TECH

Carbon Dioxide Can Be Turned Into Rock In Two Years, Hundreds Faster Than Expected

The study is a boon to carbon capture and storage advocates.

21/11/2016 17:51

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the few things which unites environmentalists and the fossil fuel industry. 

For environmentalists, it’s a way to clean up polluting industries like steel and cement. For coal, oil and gas coal execs, it’s a way to shore up business models without busting carbon budgets.

Yet until now, no one was certain that it would work, at least not in the long run.

Rogelio V. Solis/AP
A section of the Mississippi Power Co. carbon capture power plant.

Researchers with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have proved that carbon dioxide injected into basalt can be converted into rock within just two years, hundreds of years faster than originally expected.

Once the carbon dioxide has solidified into ankerite, it should remain locked up forever, proving that the technology works with a rock found around the world.

But CCS isn’t a cure-all. Earth only has a limited supply of basalt, and some experts fear the tech could slow down the transition to renewable energies.

Nevertheless, the Paris Climate Agreement requires that dirty industries are cleaned up fast and CCS may prove the best solution yet. 

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