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
Low up-front capital costs
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. Overall, the CO₂ emissions related to the transport and storage operations account for less than 4% of the total CO₂ to be permanently mineralised by the Coda Terminal.
500 thousand tonnes of CO₂ per year. One ship in operation. 2026-2028
One million tonnes of CO₂ per year. Two ships in operation. 2028-2030
Three million tonnes of CO₂ per year. Five ships in operation. 2031 - and onwards
Frequently Asked Questions
The Coda Terminal in SW-Iceland is a hub for CO₂ transport and mineral storage, the first of its kind in the world. The CO₂ will be transported to Iceland in specifically equipped ships that run on sustainable fuel and permanently stored underground as solid carbonate minerals via the Carbfix technology. Furthermore, the Coda Terminal will accommodate the storage of CO₂ from local industrial emitters.
The onshore infrastructure needed for the Coda Terminal are temporary storage tanks, pipelines and injection wells that will be built in steps from 2022 to 2031. The site, and surrounding areas, are planned as industrial sites in the general planning of the area. An industrial harbour is already in place in Straumsvík and is equipped to receive large CO₂ carriers. At full scale, the Coda Terminal will have the capacity to annually inject about 3 million tonnes of CO₂ for permanent mineral storage.
Preliminary agreements have been signed with emitters in neighbouring countries, including Scandinavia, UK and other countries in N-Europe. Final contracts are being negotiated.
The Coda Terminal means the development of a new green tech industry, creating both value and jobs within. 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 rocks that could be used 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, so 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 2026 with the injection of the first imported CO₂.
Following the pilot injections, the operations will be scaled up in steps reaching up to 3 million tonnes of CO₂ per year from 2031. 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 controlled manageable steps.
Depending on experience and demand, the storage capacity may be increased further in Straumsvík and/or in other neighbouring sites.
The basaltic bedrock found at the Straumsvík site is ideal for the mineralisation process: The rock is geologically young and permeable, providing pathways for the migrating fluids and space for the carbonate precipitates. Importantly, basalt is also highly reactive and contains the cations required for this mineralization process. Furthermore, there is an abundance of fresh water available for the dissolution of the CO₂. In addition, the industrial harbour at Straumsvík is well equipped to receive CO₂ 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. The Carbfix method has since 2014 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 get filled with 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, preliminary studies indicates that the storage capacity to be about 290-2,400 MtCO2 at the Straumsvík site. It would take over 90 years of full operation to reach the lower estimate of the storage potential.
The CO₂ will be imported 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 giving the option of using green methanol. The ships will have a carrying capacity of around 20,000 m³ of CO₂ in each trip.
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, a phenomenon known as solubility trapping. Furthermore, the CO₂-charged water accelerates the release of elements such as calcium, magnesium and iron from the basalt which subsequently binds the CO₂ as solid carbonate minerals, a process known as mineral trapping. Once stored as a mineral, the CO₂ is immobilised for geological time scales. Solubility trapping occurs immediately, and the bulk of the carbon is trapped in minerals within few years ensuring that no CO₂ will escape back to the surface.
The atmosphere is shared by everyone, and emissions from one country affect the rest of the world. Climate action must therefore reach across boundaries where their global impact is maximized. The International Energy Agency has estimated that large scale application of carbon capture and storage is indispensable to meet our climate goals. For the hard-to-abate sector, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the only way to cut emissions and reduce the carbon footprint of such activities.
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.
Iceland offers a 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 and participate in the development of a CCS ecosystem connecting planned CO₂ transport networks.
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, which eventually will be able to leverage the CO₂ injection infrastructure to be installed at the site. Furthermore, the site has the potential for the deployment of direct air capture system to remove CO₂ directly from the atmosphere and inject into the same storage reservoir.
Other ongoing research and innovation projects Carbfix is currently working on include CO₂ capture and injection from landfill site in the vicinity of Reykjavik, and preparations for pilot injections of CO₂ dissolved in seawater, for the wider applicability of the Carbfix technology.
CO₂ emissions involved with the construction and operation of CO₂ storage projects are inevitable. Life cycle assessments 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 assessment on shipping CO₂ from Europe. The ships used for the transport of CO₂ will methanol-powered, giving the option of using green methanol. The project furthermore benefits from the access to renewable energy, but nearly all electricity in Iceland is produced by renewable energy resources, with hydro and geothermal 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 in the Coda Terminal.
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 carried out. The storage site will be developed incrementally, with each increment taking into account any possible induced seismicity due to previous phases. This approach furthermore minimises the risk for felt seismicity at the site.
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 with a conventional injection of 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.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Innovation Fund. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.