Aug 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:55 AM EDT

Iceland Makes Air Clean By Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Rocks

May 13, 2019 10:45 PM EDT

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Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice due to its extremes with glacier and volcanic springs located next to each other. 21st Century alchemists in Ireland are transforming carbon dioxide into rock for eternity, cleaning the air of harmful emissions that cause global warming.

The technology mimics, in an accelerated format, a natural process that can take thousands of years, injecting CO2 into porous basalt rock where it mineralizes, capturing it forever.

"With this method, we are able to scale up time in ways we never thought possible," says Sandra Osk Snaebjornsdottir, a geologist participant in the project.

The transport sector in Iceland has been considered one of the main contributors to its growing problem on greenhouse gas emissions. They are identified next to the volcanoes and the industrial region of the country.

The United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel responsible for issues on Climate Change has been promoting various projects that deal with the capture and storage of carbon emissions. It is their bid to reduce the presence of carbon dioxide in the country and reduce the overall temperature by as much a 1.5%.

Ms. Snaebjornsdottir is working closely on the project in partnership with Reykjavik Energy, a highly established utility company with a group of engineers looking at the possibility. The partnership is also working alongside researchers from the University of Iceland, experts from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France and the representatives from Columbia University in the United States.

Iceland is known for being the country of geysers, volcanoes, and glaciers. In fact, more than half of the energy needed by the country is produced through these renewable resources. This combination is indeed one of the most desirable combinations in the world. Not only does it promise stability, but it also saves the country from being the biggest contributor to the carbon emissions that ruin the planet.

"Almost all of the carbon that has been injected within the last two years since our pilot injection have been mineralized," said Snaebjornsdottir.

Once the carbon dioxide has been injected into the rock, it pretty much stays there for good, even if the rock is broken down. The same formula work for Iceland could also work for the rest of the world, specifically those countries in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

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