Research & development
Carbfix started out as an academic research project and R&D continues to be the driving force of the company.
Carbfix has developed the scientific basis for using seawater to dissolve CO2, prior to injection, thus expanding the applicability of the technology to water scarce regions, coastal and offshore areas. Reaction path modelling and laboratory studies have quantified the chemical interactions between emission-charged seawater and basalt and indicate that >80% of injected CO2 dissolved in seawater causes carbonate mineralization at temperatures ≤170°C. A field site demonstration of mineral storage using seawater will follow in late 2021: Project CO2-Seastone.
The chemical and physical properties of different rock types strongly influence the rate of CO2 mineralization. Fresh basalts, like the ones in our field site in Hellisheiði, are among the most feasible formations, but other rock types have the potential for mineral carbonation. It is yet to be established which formations are suitable for efficient CO2 mineralization, but these could extend the applicability of the method already established in fresh basalts. These questions are being explored as part of the H2020 GECO project (see below), and with pilot injections into older basaltic formations in Iceland in 2021.
The Carbfix technology requires both water and energy. Significant efforts are being undertaken to increase efficiency at every step of the chain. This involves simulations of dissolution of gas mixtures under pressure as well as the behavior of gas-charged fluids injected into the subsurface.
Innovative approaches have been developed to monitor the fate of the injected gas mixture, in order to confirm the rapid mineralization process. This involves regular sampling, a combination of chemical and tracer analyses, geochemical calculations, isotope analyses and physical evidence. Furthermore, ongoing work towards other innovative monitoring methods are being evaluated in several projects, such as: the H2020 projects CarbFix2, S4CE, and GECO.
Geothermal Emission COntrol - GECO project
Carbfix leads the innovative EU funded GECO project, which aims to provide a clean, safe, and cost-efficient non-carbon and sulfur-emitting geothermal energy across Europe and the World. Pilot demonstrations are planned in Iceland, Germany and Turkey (see website for more details).
Carbfix2 is an EU funded H2020 research project with the aim of advancing capture and injection of impure CO2 streams into the subsurface, integration of a direct air capture technology with the Carbfix process. Additionally, the first steps CO2 mineralization using seawater for injection are being evaluated, as well as how to lower the overall cost of the CCS chain (see here).
Science 4 Clean Energy project
EU funded H2020 research and innovation project for fundamental studies on fluid transport, reactivity and quantification of emissions, micro-seismic events, and testing of cement casings. Field sites are the Carbfix site in Iceland, Cornwall UK, and St. Gallen Switzerland (see website).