Climate Change Breakthrough: Iceland Power Plant Captures Carbon Dioxide And Injects It Underground

A geothermal power plant in South Iceland known as Hellisheidi Power Station could fight the effects of climate change on Earth. It has a project called “CarbFix” that could capture carbon dioxide from the air and inject it deep in the underground.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is needed by plants and animals, but too much of this gas on Earth could destroy these living things as well. Carbon dioxide has been increasing at a significant rate and pollutes the atmosphere, and scientists are looking for ways to counteract the emissions of carbon dioxide on the planet. The leap forward now is the world’s first “negative emissions” that could trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and bury it in underground rock.

Edda Sif Aradottir, the project manager of CarbFix, said that for the first time anywhere in the world, they are extracting carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere through carbon collectors. He further said that they take this purified carbon dioxide and pump it down into the ground and then remove it permanently from the atmosphere.

This project is in partnership between Reykjavik Energy and Swiss company Climeworks. It is also participated by Columbia University in New York, University of Iceland, and the French National Center for Scientific Research. The project is partly funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, according to Chemical & Engineering News.

So, how does this pilot plant work? The large carbon collectors will capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Then, it is dissolved in water and drained into the ground in a depth of about two kilometers (1.25 miles). Afterward, the carbon dioxide converts into stone, according to Iceland Review.

The project will be trialed for one year. It is expected that it will remove about 50 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which sees yearly emissions reach to about 30 to 40 gigatons worldwide.

Sandra Osk Snaebjornsdottir, an engineer at Reykjavik Energy, said that if they are to achieve climate goals, then they must take steps. This includes extracting carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere as they are doing now. She further said that this will undoubtedly be one of the solutions.

[Featured Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]