Scientists have secured funding to develop new technologies to test and measure the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be safely captured in volcanic rock.
The novel carbon storage process – known as mineralisation – is currently used in Iceland, where captured CO2 is dissolved in water and injected underground into volcanic rock through a pipeline.
The reactivity of the basalt rock subsequently transforms the CO2 mixture into new minerals, effectively locking it underground.
However, to maximise the potential of this crucial technology a better understanding is needed on what controls the reactivity of the volcanic rock and how much CO2 can be locked away, experts say.
The £1m INCLUSION project, will see researchers from the School of GeoSciences working in partnership with Icelandic mineralisation operator, Carbfix and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, to develop an evidence-based framework, aimed at optimising the mineralisation process on an industrial scale.
The team will combine 4D x-ray imaging and micro-scale mineral analysis with a newly invented field-scale CO2 fingerprinting method to track the volume of carbon dioxide captured from Iceland’s largest geothermal power plant and verify its safe and permanent storage underground.
The unique CO2 fingerprinting tool, developed by Edinburgh scientists, is being patented by Edinburgh Innovations – the University’s commercialisation service.
Carbon capture and storage is becoming vitally important in the fight against climate change and this approach has the potential to vastly reduce the amount of harmful CO2 present in our atmosphere.
The project has received funding from the Natural Environment Research Council’s Pushing the Frontiers scheme.
Extracted from University of Edinburgh's website, read more here