We find that over 95% of the CO2 injected into the Carbfix site in Iceland was mineralized to carbonate minerals in less than two years. This result contrasts with the common view that the immobilization of CO2 as carbonate minerals within geologic reservoirs takes several hundreds to thousands of years (Matter et al., 2016).
Mineralization of injected H2S were reported to occur even faster than CO2.
… essentially all of the injected H2S was mineralised within four months of its injection. (Snæbjörnsdóttir et al., 2017)
Moving to industrial scale
Following successful CarbFix pilot operations and early indications of rapid mineral storage, upscaling of CCS operations at the Hellisheiði power plant to industrial scale and simultaneously capture CO2 and H2S through a simple single-stage water scrubbing process. A full-scale capture plant for two of six high pressure turbines was constructed next to the turbine hall, which began pilot industrial scale operations in 2014. The plant has been running continuously, without incident ever since, with a doubling of the capture capacity in 2016. Plans call for bringing emissions from the power plant down to near-zero in the coming years. Cost of on-site CCS operations at Hellisheiði is US $24.8/ton - lower than the recent average price of one carbon quota in the EU Emission Trading System. By applying the Carbfix process to capture and mineralize H2S, instead of conventional sulfur removal methods, which involve either turning H2S to elemental sulfur or sulfuric acid, significant economic benefits have been achieved. These include the CapEx and OpEx of the Carbfix approach only amounting to between 3-30% of conventional sulfur removal methods.
The Carbfix process has been applied to significantly reduce CO2 and H2S emissions from the Hellisheiði Power Plant since 2014, following successful pilot-scale injections in 2012. The technology can be adapted to other carbon emitting industries, such as steel, iron and cement production and several pilot projects are underway with the aim of adapting the technology to other industries and other circumstances.
Incorporation of Carbfix
Carbfix was established as a subsidiary of Reykjavik Energy (OR) in late 2019 and began operations as a separate entity on January 1st 2020. The company's mission is to become a key instrument in tackling the climate crisis by reaching one billion tons of permanently stored CO2 (1 GtCO2) as rapidly as possible.