Carbfix is an academic-industrial partnership that has developed a novel approach to capture and store CO2 by its dissolution in water and its injection into subsurface basalts. Once in the subsurface, the injected CO2 reacts with the host rock forming stable carbonate minerals, thus providing for the safe, long-term storage of the captured gas.
The CO2 is captured either by its dissolution in water from power plants, or directly from the atmosphere by air capture, followed by its dissolution in water. The carbonated water is injected into the subsurface where it reacts with the Ca, Mg and Fe present in the rock. These metals are abundant in basaltic minerals such as Mg-rich olivine mineral which can react with CO2, as shown by the reaction below, to form stable Mg-carbonate mineral magnesite and quarts.
Mg2SiO4 + 2CO2 _ 2MgCO3 + SiO2
This way, CO2 is locked away for thousands of years with no dangerous by-products.
CarbFix was initiated in 2007 by scientists from University of Iceland, Reykjavk Energy Iceland, Columbia University NY USA and CNRS Toulouse France. The aim was to develop an industrial process of carbon capture and storage as minerals in reactive rocks. The thrust of the work has been carried out by PhD students and postdoc, to ensure rapid dissemination of this new technology to future generations.