CO2 to Limestone Using Basalt Formations – Capture, Storage

This entry was posted by Saturday, 23 January, 2010
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Was reading an article on carbon sequestration that has a focus on basalt rock formations on the coasts of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Add this a recent Popular Mechanics article comments on the potential for these rock formations to be the storage place for CO2. It says, “…a new scientific analysis suggests /that the related basalt formations buried under the U.S. East Coast and extending out to sea might someday be doing some critical trapping after all — of greenhouse gas emissions from the likes of giant coal-burning power plants.”

Basalt is capable of transforming CO2 dissolved in water into calcium carbonate, or limestone. This way, CO2 is stored in the form of stable carbonates for a very long period.

Results of the analysis published in a recent edition of The Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences suggest that the basalt formations actually may be ideal for capturing billions of tons of CO2, with single basalt formations alone having the potential to capture almost a billion T.

That’s not a bad number at all. The world emits something about 35 billion T of CO2 per year, and the world will be keen to capture at least 10 billion T of these every year. If one basalt formation could store a billion T, with a large number of such formations world over, the potential could be sizable for the medium term. However, the worldwide capacity estimates for these basaltic rock formations that can store CO2 appear to be quite preliminary in nature.

This site gives the cost of storage alone at about $10 per T of CO2. However, this does not include cost of capture and transportation.

In terms of actual work on the ground, two such projects appear to have done some amount of work – the “Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership,” headed by a team including researchers from Idaho National Laboratory, the University of Idaho, Boise State University, Idaho State University, (Hickey), and “Carbfix,” a project in Iceland run by a team from the University of Iceland, Columbia University, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, and Reykjavik Energy (CarbFix). (Source)

Guess just projects being out there does not augur too well for this area, but again, CCS efforts themselves are only about a decade old, so it will interesting to watch out the developments in the domain of basalt storage of CO2.

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