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Carbfix 2

A H2020 funded research project

CarbFix2 builds upon the success of the original CarbFix project, which has been ongoing since 2007 and e.g. received funding from the EU’s 7th Framework Program. In recent years, CarbFix has received worldwide recognition for developing novel, safe, and efficient geologic carbon storage method, which successfully converted injected CO2 into stable carbonate rocks within two years. The CarbFix2 project was designed to make the CarbFix geological storage method both economically viable with a complete CCS chain, and to make the technology transportable throughout Europe. This will be done through a comprehensive project consisting of 1) the capture and co-injection of impure CO2 and other water-soluble polluting gases into the subsurface, 2) integration of the CarbFix method with novel direct air capture technology, 3) the development of the technology to perform the CarbFix geological carbon storage method using seawater injection into submarine rocks, and 4) lowering the cost of the complete CCS chain.

To achieve its goals the CarbFix2 project was divided into six interrelated work packages to ensure the efficient completion of technological program and its effective management. These work packages together form the CarbFix2 approach and are shown in the figure below.

Within WP2, a Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant, with a CO2 capture capacity of around 90 kg CO2 per day has been shipped to the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant for continuous operation. The CO2 which is captured by the DAC plant from ambient air is subsequently dissolved in water and pumped underground where the CO2 mineralizes and is therefore safely and permanently sequestrated. The DAC plant was commissioned in October 2018 and the planned operation phase of one year was extended by an additional year.

Within WP3, the CarbFix2 consortium defines and demonstrates the best practices for the injection of water dissolved gases into basaltic reservoirs on shore. This includes the upscaled mixed gas capture system at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant that presently captures and injects annually about 12,000 tonnes of CO2 and 6,000 tonnes of H2S as well as CO2 captured directly from ambient air into basaltic rocks. Within WP3 we have designed and implemented a coherent surface and subsurface monitoring and verification plan at the CarbFix2 injection site, in which we have defined the deep fluid compositions at depth and demonstrated rapid mineralization of the injected gases. We monitor earthquakes and model the reactive transport of the injected water and gases from the injection well to the monitoring wells to further understand the mineralization processes at depth in the storage reservoir. And finally, we continue to develop non-conventional isotope tools (Mg, Ca, Fe) to verify mineralization of the injected gases; these methods are now ready to be applied to the CarbFix2 injection site.

WP4 focuses on paving the way for adopting the CarbFix approach to the capture and storage of CO2 below the seafloor using seawater for the capture of CO2. This workpackage takes several parallel approaches towards addressing this challenge.  First, we have performed a series of laboratory experiments to assess the rate and extent of reactions occurring between CO2 charged seawater and submarine basalts.  Attention is being made to illuminate the chemical differences between using sea-water versus fresh water for such injections.  Second, the relative efficiency of using seawater versus fresh water for the capture of CO2 from exhaust streams is being evaluated both by using a newly created prototype capture system and by using thermodynamic modelling.  Third, a reactive transport modelling is being used to predict the long-term behavior of a geologic carbon storage site located below the seafloor.  Finally, a pilot submarine CO2 storage site has been identified and is currently being characterized, e.g. via a chemical tracer test.

Although it has been repeatedly shown that the cost of coping with climate change would be greater than the cost of preventing it, cost of carbon capture and storage has remained a bottle-neck for widespread application of this available technology. WP5 focuses on this issue, identifying on-site cost of operating CarbFix at Hellisheidi. The feasibility of applying the CarbFix method at different geological locations and industrial processes with respect to financial and energy costs are further estimated and results compared to alternative carbon capture technologies and abatement schemes. Through this work we have demonstrated that the cost of industrial scale application of the CarbFix method at Hellisheidi power plant is less than $25/ton, which is significantly lower than other reported cost figures for CCS, and currently on par with price of carbon quota on the ETS market.

WP6 involves active and continuous outreach and dissemination throughout the lifetime of CarbFix2, ensuring that the technological results and advances achieved are adequately reported to stakeholders including government decision makers, international scientists, interest groups, industrial companies, the media, local communities and the general public. Activities within the WP include maintaining and updating the CarbFix website, www.carbfix.com, press releases resulting in considerable coverage of the project in mass media, publication of scientific papers and presentations at conferences and high-level events.

Further detail can be found on the different work packages within CarbFix2 below.

WP1 - Project Management, led by OR

Objectives of WP1 are:

  • To plan, organize, maintain, and review all consortium and participant activities
  • To ensure coordination and planning of the project with the EU and the rest of the consortium.
  • To ensure the smooth, efficient, and successful running of the CarbFix2 project.
  • To submit all required reports in a timely manner.
  • To manage all financial aspects of CarbFix2 and,
  • To assure that the project adheres to EC sex and gender guidelines.

To achieve these goals, the WP is broken down to the tasks shown below:


WP2 - Direct air capture using geothermal heat, led by Climeworks

Within this work package Climeworks has constructed a Direct Air Capture plant with a CO2 capacity of around 90 kg CO2 per day and operates this plant for an extended duration of 24 months at Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. Climeworks shipped and commissioned the Direct Air Capture plant in October 2017 while OR was responsible for associated construction of the required energy interface (mainly heat, electricity and water) and the CO2 compression to the desired sequestration pressure. To achieve its goals, WP2 was divided into the tasks shown below:

WP3 - On shore injection, led by the University of Iceland

This work package, led by UI along with A21, is aimed at determining the long-term behaviour and best practices for the injection of mixed gases dissolved into fresh water into basaltic reservoirs on shore. Efforts will be focused on upscaling the mixed gas capture system that will produce at least 20,000 tons of water dissolved gas annually. Subsurface storage of CO2 and H2S mixtures in geologic reservoirs requires a comprehensive monitoring and verification program to assure the safety and permanence of storage. The overall goal of this work package is to design, implement and demonstrate a coherent surface and subsurface monitoring and verification plan at the CarbFix2 injection site to reveal and increase knowledge about transport (advection, dispersion) and geochemical mineralization processes occurring in the geologic storage reservoir, and to continue monitoring at the original CarbFix site. To reach this goal, the WP was broken into the tasks shown below:

WP4 - Off shore injection, led by CNRS

This work package aims to provide the scientific basis, background modelling, and preparations complete for a full-scale test of the injection of pure CO2 and/or CO2-H2S mixed gas charged seawater into submarine basalts. This injection will take advantage of existing wells located near the Icelandic coast, where the subsurface water flow will carry the injected fluid offshore. This strategy allows for the cost-effective testing of this method without the logistical challenges of creating a new off shore infrastructure and creating new methods for sampling submarine rocks and fluids. To reach its goals, the work package was broken down into the tasks shown below:

WP5 - Economic feasibility analysis of the entire CCS cycle, led by OR

The main objective of this work package is to estimate the feasibility of applying the CarbFix method at different geological locations and industrial processes with respect to financial and energy costs. Results will be compared to alternative carbon capture technologies and abatement schemes. To achieve these goals, the work package has been divided into the tasks shown below:

WP6 - Dissemination and public engagement, led by OR

The main objectives of this work package are:

  • To ensure that the technological results and advances achieved by CarbFix2 are adequately reported to stakeholders including government decision makers, international scientists, interest groups, industrial companies, the media, local communities and the general public.
  • To develop communication procedures for informing the authorities as well as the public of unusual or significant changes in injection that might lead to seismic events.
  • To define the exploitation route for the results of the project and to manage intellectual property between CarbFix2 members. Contribute, upon invitation by the INEA, and
  • To common information and dissemination activities to increase the visibility and synergies between H2020 supported actions.

To achieve these goals, the work package has been divided into the tasks shown below:

The Partners

Reykjavik Energy, Iceland - the project co-ordinator

Reykjavík Energy (Orkuveita Reykjavíkur, OR) is a public utility company providing electricity, geothermal water for heating, and cold water for consumption and firefighting. OR‘s principal owner is the City of Reykjavík, and it provides its services through three subsidiaries; Veitur Utilities, ON Power, and Reykjavík Fibre Network, The group harnesses hot water from geothermal fields in Reykjavík and operates geothermal plants at Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir where electricity and hot water is generated.

OR has since 2007 been involved in development, testing and demonstration of a full CCS cycle at one of its power plants, through the CarbFix project, which has since then been extended to industrial scale.

CNRS, France

CNRS, France. The Centre national de la recherche scientifique is a government‐funded research organization, under the administrative authority of France's Ministry of Research. It involves 25,000 permanent employees  and 7,000 temporary workers, making it the largest fundamental science agency in Europe. Research in the CarbFix2 project will be performed by the Experimental Geochemistry group of the GET laboratory (CNRS UMR 5563) located in Toulouse. The laboratory is equipped with the state‐of‐the‐art equipment for measuring and interpreting rate experiments and is renowned for its high quality experimental and theoretical studies on mineral‐fluid interactions, and its high scientific productivity. CNRS is one of the founding members of the CarbFix project.

University of Iceland

As one of the founding members of the CarbFix project, the University of Iceland is the largest teaching and research institute in Iceland with about 12,500 students of which 3,500 are graduate students. The Institute of Earth Sciences is an academic research institute hosted within the Science Institute, University of Iceland and comprises of about 30 teaching and research faculty members, 12 Nordic research and postdoctoral fellows, and about 50 graduate students. 

Research within the CarbFix2 project is performed by the Aquatic Geochemistry Group of IES, who is currently monitoring CO2 and H2S capture from geothermal power plants and its storage in basaltic rocks, conducting thermodynamic and kinetic laboratory experimental studies of mineral‐fluid‐gas interactions and researching natural analogues for carbon storage in basaltic rocks. The geochemistry laboratory is equipped with the state‐of‐the‐art equipment for measuring and interpreting laboratory rate experiments as well as analysing the natural fluid chemistry

Climeworks, Switzerland

Climeworks AG (CW) was founded in 2009 as ­a Spin‐off Company from ETH Zurich and is registered as a public limited company (AG) in Zurich, Switzerland. CW provides solutions for efficiently capturing CO2 out of ambient air (“direct air capture”, DAC). Onsite DAC plants from CW offer a competitive and environmentally friendly CO2 supply to its customers. The two main advantages of CW products are the location independency, a DAC plant does not need any point source of CO2 emissions like flue gas streams since atmospheric air is available nearly everywhere, and the energy supply, which can largely be covered by low‐temperature heat that is often available as waste heat.

AMPHOS21, Spain

AMPHOS21 Consulting S.L. (A21) provides scientific and technical consultancy services addressing a range of environmental issues, mainly associated with the management and disposal of hazardous wastes, contaminated groundwater and soils as well as environmental planning and management. The main output is the expert advice to national geological agencies and regulators, along with industrial innovation. AMPHOS 21 counts on a team of more than 40 highly qualified professional specialized in scientific and technical disciplines related to geosciences, climate change and waste and energy geological storage.

AMPHOS21 is leader in innovative solutions of modelling of underground storage processes, both physical and geochemical. AMPHOS21 was also involved in the CarbFix project, seed of the actual CarbFix2 project.