Where does it work?
About 5% of the continents are covered by favourable rocks for carbon mineralisation, as well as most of the seafloor. The global storage potential is greater than the emissions of the burning of all fossil fuels on Earth. In fact, Iceland alone could store many years’ worth of mankind’s carbon emissions.
It is estimated that Europe can store at least 4,000 billion tons of CO2 in rocks while the United States can store at least 7,500 billion tons.
What if there's a lack of water in my region?
The Carbfix process requires substantial amounts of water to dissolve CO2 and to promote reactions underground. However, the water is sourced from the same reservoir in which the injection takes place and is therefore recirculated back into the system. However, even in water scarce regions there may still be great geological conditions required for Carbfix. Carbfix has developed the scientific basis for using seawater to dissolve CO2 instead prior to injection, significantly expanding the applicability of the technology. A field site demonstration of mineral storage using seawater is scheduled in 2021.
What is so special about basalts?
Basaltic rocks are highly reactive and contain the metals needed for permanently immobilising CO2 through the formation of carbonate minerals. They are often fractured and porous, containing storage space for the mineralised CO2.
It has been estimated that the active rift zone in Iceland could store over 400 Gt CO2 (400 billion tonnes of CO2). The theoretical storage capacity of the ocean ridges is significantly larger than the estimated 18,500 Gt CO2 stemming from the burning of all fossil fuel carbon on Earth. The question remains, how much of this theoretical storage capacity is feasible to use for mineral storage of CO2.
The pore space, chemical composition, and wide distribution of basalts makes it the perfect candidate to develop the Carbfix process. However, other reactive rocks such as andesites, peridotites, breccias and sedimentary formations containing calcium, magnesium and iron rich silicate minerals can also do the job. Studies assessing the feasibility of Carbfix in alternative rock formations are being conducted by the Carbfix2 project and the related GECO project.