A scalable onshore CO2 mineral storage hub in Iceland
The CODA Terminal is a cross-border carbon transport and storage hub in Iceland. CO2 is captured at industrial sites in North Europe and shipped to the Terminal where it is unloaded into onshore tanks for temporary storage. The CO2 is then pumped into a network of nearby injection wells where it is dissolved in water before being injected into the fresh basaltic bedrock. There the CO2 remains trapped in the carbonated fluid and transforms into solid minerals in less than two years. Once the process is confirmed, further monitoring is not required.
Mineral storage transforms the cost structures, risks and liabilities associated with carbon storage projects
Nature‘s way of permanently storing carbon in rocks ... accelerated
Reliable onshore storage at around €15 per tonne.
Expanding network of shallow wells ensures flexibility and risk mitigation.
Natural process and plenty of storage space
Nature stores vast quantities of CO2 in rocks. The Carbfix technology accelerates this natural process by dissolving CO2 in water before injecting it deep into reactive rock formations, where it gradually turns into stone. The only feedstock for the process is water, electricity, CO2 and reactive bedrock such as basalts. The entire on-site operations will run on renewable energy.
The CO2 will be exported from industries with carbon capture capabilities across North Europe. There, the CO2 will be compressed and transported by specifically designed gas carriers in a cold liquid form. Initially, the ships will use methanol as a primary fuel source but will be convertible to operate on zero-carbon ammonia at later stages. Overall, the CO2 emissions related to the transport and storage operations account for 3 – 6% of the total CO2 to be permanently mineralised by the Coda Terminal.
300 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year. One ship in operation. 2025-2027
One million tonnes of CO2 per year. Three ships in operation. 2027-2030
Three million tonnes of CO2 per year. Six ships in operation. 2030-2034
The Coda Terminal in SW-Iceland is the world´s first CO2 transport and mineral storage hub. The CO2 will be transported to Iceland in specifically engineered ships that are run on sustainable fuel types and permanently stored as solid carbonate minerals via the Carbfix technology. Furthermore, the Coda Terminal will accommodate the storage of CO2 from local industrial emitters, as well as CO2 directly captured from the atmosphere using direct air capture technology here in Iceland.
The onshore infrastructure required for the Coda Terminal are temporary storage tanks, pipelines and injection wells that will be built in phases from 2021 to 2030. The site and surrounding areas have been designated for industrial activity by planning permission. An industrial harbor is already located at Straumsvík and is equipped to receive large CO2 carriers. At full scale, the Coda Terminal will have the capacity to inject 3 million tons of CO2 per annum (3 Gt CO2/yr) for permanent mineral storage.
Straumsvík’s young and permeable basaltic bedrock is the ideal injection site for the mineralisation process. Its geological character provides pathways for the injected migrating fluids, increases the reactive surface area of the rock for cation mineralization and thus space for carbonate precipitates. The bedrock exhibits little alteration, such that there is sufficient pore space and fractures to be infilled by carbonates. Furthermore, the local abundance of fresh water will be used for CO2 dissolution and injection. In addition, the industrial harbour at Straumsvík is already well-equipped to receive CO2 for injection, transported by specifically designed ships operating on sustainable fuel.
Carbfix has successfully proven the technology in a geologic analogue reservoir located 20 km from the site, at Hellisheidi, SW-Iceland. In 2012, the rapid mineralisation of CO2 was confirmed during pilot injections at Hellisheidi. Since 2014, the Carbfix method has been used as an integral part of the operations at the Hellisheidi geothermal plant, capturing CO2 from the plants emissions and injecting it deep into the basaltic bedrock at the site for permanent CO2 mineral storage.
The Carbfix technology imitates and accelerates natural processes, in which CO2 is dissolved in water and interacts with reactive rock formations to form stable minerals providing a permanent and safe carbon sink.
Young and fresh basaltic rocks are fractured and porous, but over time the pores are filled by secondary minerals. The Carbfix technology accelerates this process and utilises part of the pore space as storage space for CO2 in the form of the stable carbonate minerals, such as calcite, which is a common mineral in Icelandic bedrock.
The storage capacity for CO2 in young basaltic rocks is immense, with the possibility of storing over 100 kg of CO2 per 1 m3 of rock. Furthermore, it has been estimated that the injection of approximately 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year has been carried out at the Hellisheiði site since 2014 uses less than 0.01% of the storage capacity of the reservoir.
There is negligible risk of the CO2 returning to the atmosphere. Once dissolved in water, CO2 is no longer buoyant and does not migrate back to the surface: solubility trapping. The CO2-charged water accelerates both the release of elements such as calcium, magnesium and iron from the basalt and subsequent formation of solid carbonate minerals. Solubility trapping occurs immediately and the bulk of the carbon is trapped in minerals within few years. Once stored as a mineral, the CO2 is immobilised for geological time scales.
The atmosphere is shared by everyone and emissions from one country affect the rest of the world. Climate action is should not be border confined, such that the global impact is maximized. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that large scale application of carbon capture and storage is indispensable to meet our climate goals. For several industrial processes it is the only technology that can cut emissions.
The Icelandic economy uses large quantities of material goods such as steel and cement that are produced in other countries and the carbon footprint of which falls outside Iceland. Iceland will therefore reduce its indirect emissions and at the same time contribute to the 55% reduction target by 2030, jointly pledged by Europe, Iceland and Norway.
Not all CO2 emitters are located in the vicinity of feasible geological storage formations conducive to carbon mineralization. In many cases transporting the CO2 to a suitable storage formation is the only option. Large scale carbon capture and storage projects are on the rise in Europe with several projects reaching maturity. These include Porthos in the Netherlands, Project Longboat in Norway and Acorn in the UK.
Iceland offers the vast mineral storage capacity in its basaltic bedrock and a CCS friendly regulatory environment. The Coda Terminal increases the portfolio of storage options by providing a safe, efficient method to permanently store CO2 where basalts and water sources are available. It will make a significant contribution to the development of Northern Europe´s CCS sector.
Carbfix is, parallel to the development of the Coda Terminal, working on several fronts to capture CO2 from domestic sources.
Carbfix, the government of Iceland, and the heavy industry have signed a declaration of intent to explore whether the Carbfix process is technologically and economically viable to reduce CO2 emissions from industrial facilities in Iceland, which notably account for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Technical development is ongoing for the capture of CO2 emissions from the aluminium smelter located in Straumsvík. The CO2 injection infrastructure will be tailored to the aluminium smelter’s gas composition and installed at the smelter site. Furthermore, the site has the potential to deploy direct air capture systems, which remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere and inject it into the same reservoir.
Other ongoing research and innovation projects Carbfix are currently working on CO2 capture and injection from landfill sites in the vicinity of Reykjavik and preparations for pilot injections of CO2 dissolved in seawater in order to increase the reach of the Carbfix technology to water scarce regions.
The CO2 will be imported from industries with carbon capture capabilities across Northern Europe. There, the CO2 will be compressed and transported by specifically designed gas carrier ships in a cold liquid form. Initially, the ships will use methanol as a primary fuel source but will be converted to operate on zero-carbon ammonia at a later stage. The ships will have a carrying capacity of a minimum 10, 000 tonnes of CO2 in each trip.
No. Negotiations with several interested parties are underway but final contracts are not in place.
CO2 emissions involved with the construction and operation of CO2 storage projects are inevitable. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) are therefore carried out to evaluate the CO2 footprint, estimate the net CO2 reductions, and ensure the maximised benefit of such projects.
The Coda Terminal has gone through these assessments, including an assessment on shipping CO2 from Europe. The ships used for the transport of CO2 will be methanol-powered, and at later stages zero-carbon ammonia will be employed. The project furthermore benefits from access to Iceland´s renewable energy. Iceland produces nearly all its electricity from renewable energy resources, with hydro- and geothermal energy accounting for 75% and 25%, respectively.
Overall, the CO2 emissions related to the transport and storage operations account for 3 - 6% of the total CO2 to be permanently mineralised by the Coda Terminal.
The Coda Terminal represents the development of a new green tech industry, creating both economic and environmental value, as well as creating jobs. Furthermore, it puts Iceland in the forefront among nations offering new technology-driven CO2 reduction solutions.
Most of the bedrock, both on land and offshore Iceland consists of basaltic rock, suitable for CO2 mineral storage. Other carbon storage terminals could be constructed in Iceland depending on experience and demand. Favourable geological formations also exist on land on every continent. Therefore, mineral storage terminals could be established worldwide.
The timeline allows for on-site preparations to start in 2022 aiming for pilot injections in 2023. Commercial operations are scheduled to start mid 2025 with the injection of the first imported CO2.
Following the pilot injections, the operations will be scaled up in phases reaching up to 3 million tonnes of CO2 per year from 2030. The key advantage of mineral storage operations is that it relies on a network of shallow injection wells, rather than a single deep high capacity well. This enables a modular scale-up approach where wells can be added to the network in a controlled manner.
Depending on experience and demand, the storage capacity may be increased further in Straumsvík and/or in other neighbouring sites.
Total investment is estimated in the range of 220 - 250 million EUR including CAPEX and OPEX.
Annual revenues are expected to be approximately 25-45 million EUR, when operating at full capacity.
Current best estimates for the cost of storage range between 9-16 EUR per tonne assuming a project lifetime of 10 years (equipment will be built to have a minimum of 20 year lifetime). The maritime transport of CO2 will cost between 20 and 50 EUR depending on distance and size of vessel. This means that the total cost of transport and storage will be in the 29-66 EUR range. The price of ETS allowances is at 44 EUR/tonne at the time of writing.
Yes. In March 2021, the Icelandic parliament adopted the EU CCS directive 2009/31 into Icelandic law. With the bill, the geological storage of CO2 in Icelandic territory will be permitted, whether it is stored under conventional methods injecting supercritical CO2 or injection for permanent mineral storage of CO2 (the Carbfix method).
With the legislation the administrative process for the injection of CO2 in Iceland will be co-ordinated ensuring that permits, operations, reporting, verification, and monitoring are in line with what is stipulated in the directive 2009/31. Additionally, it will ensure that parties under the EU ETS system will be able to deduct injected CO2 under the new Act in their ETS accounts, irrespective of which method is used, conventional storage or mineral storage.
One of the main site selection criteria was to ensure reduced seismic risk. An independent seismic risk assessment was carried out during the preparation phase for the injection activities. The assessment concluded that based on existing data the probability of felt seismicity due to the injection is low, especially due to the shallow nature of the injection operations.
Historically the area around Straumsvik has been seismically ‘quiet’. Seismicity will be thoroughly monitored during the project’s lifetime. An on-site seismic network will be set up for the Coda Terminal and will be combined with selected stations of the national permanent seismic network to increase the detection level and location accuracy. The area will be monitored before and during the preparation phase where the first wells will be drilled, and initial injections tests will be conducted. The storage site will be developed incrementally, considering any possible induced seismicity due to previous project phases. This approach minimises the risk for felt seismicity at the site.