Reykjavik-based Carbfix is marking a scientific breakthrough in the carbon capture industry. The company captures waste CO2 which is dissolved into large volumes of water. Then the carbon dioxide is injected into the ground where it’s been turned into stone in less than two years.
“This is a technology that can be scaled – it’s cheap and economic and environmentally friendly,” said Carbfix CEO Edda Sif Pind Aradottir. The technology imitates natural processes in which trees and vegetation bind carbon from the atmosphere. It is based on forming carbonates from the CO2 that is dissolved in water. The water is also mixed with other elements like calcium, magnesium, and iron. The water is then stored underground where the CO2 dissolved in the mixture binds with the rocks below and creates carbonates with time.
The carbonates are stable for thousands of years so the CO2 can thus be considered permanently stored. What surprised the scientists is the time it took for the injected carbon dioxide to mineralize. The time was two years – much faster than previously thought.
To provide the emissions needed for the process, the technology can work with either direct air capture (DAC) or emissions captured from the smokestacks of factories and power plants. Carbfix is doing both – the company captures CO2 at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. It’s also partnering with Swiss startup Climeworks AG that builds machines for DAC.
The company’s goal is to reach 1 billion metric tons of permanently stored CO2 in 2030. Its process costs $25 a ton. The current price is about $48 a ton when buying carbon credits on the EU’s Emissions Trading System. It’s also taking part in the $100 million Carbon Capture Competition Elon Musk announced recently.
When it comes to carbon capture and sequestration, Carbfix can provide a scalable and affordable solution. The company takes the challenge to store CO2 emissions forever to avoid the worst effects of climate change.