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Capturing CO2 Into Rocks May Be the Next Solution to Carbon Emissions

Nov 21, 2016 07:03 AM EST
Excess carbon emission is the world's biggest problem
A recent study has discovered that when carbon dioxide is injected to basalt, it will eventually transform into solid rock after two years. Can this be the answer to lesser carbon emissions?
(Photo : Getty Images)

The ongoing increase in population has reiterated the need to further industrialize and urbanize the society, creating damage on the environment. Excessive carbon emissions have been the biggest problem of environmentalists and global warming enthusiasts for the past decades. The increasing need for supplies and electricity has created a rapid growth in industries with large carbon footprints. Systems with less carbon emissions are being developed and implemented all over the world. However, what are we going to do with existing CO2 in the environment? 

A recent study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters has developed an interesting method to capture and "store" excess CO2 in the atmosphere. According to a report from Science Daily, the said study was able to find out that when carbon dioxide is injected to basalt, it will eventually transform into solid rock after two years.

They have formulated this hypothesis when lab analyses of basalt have shown high concentrations of CO2, possibly from air bubbles that exist in lava when it solidifies. This evidence suggests that carbonate materials may be converted from CO2 and once CO2 has been stored into solid form, there could be no way for it to escape into the atmosphere any longer.  Since then, field experiments have been performed where CO2 is injected to basalt and is successfully converted to solids after a few years.

One specific experiment was done in the Columbia River Basalt formation where a team of researchers injected CO2 into a drilled well. Two years later, core samples from this basalt formation have been collected, and as predicted, the injected carbon dioxide has been transformed into a carbonate material known as ankerite.

This solution is only one of the proposals after the Paris Climate Change Agreement has demanded a significant decrease in carbon emissions in the next five years. According to scientists, "removing" existing carbon dioxide in air may be one of the best solutions. 

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