Iceland's climate crisis solution: Turn gas into rock
Updated 22:03, 23-Sep-2019
Emma Keeling
00:57

It's no secret that global CO₂ emissions are alarmingly high. Some estimates suggest they could be as much as 37 billion metric tons per year. The issue is so urgent that scientists are suggesting temperatures will rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2100. 

So, what is the answer to this urgent climate problem? 

We all know about recycling and reducing our carbon footprint, but perhaps it's time to consider a more radical solution? 

Scientists in Iceland have pioneered a process called CarbFix, which captures CO₂ and other sour gases caused by emissions and permanently stores them underground as rock. 

CGTN Europe went to the Hellisheidi power plant near Reykjavik to see how the radical process works, see the video above.

Iceland is one of the most geothermically active countries in the world and it uses this power to provide most of its electricity. But what Sigi Gislason, the co-founder of CarbFix, realized was that the steam being accessed underground as a power source was bringing CO₂ with it. 

This led him to help create a new process, which separates the CO₂ and other gases from the steam and dissolves them in water, creating a bubbly mixture. This is then injected into basalt rock, which contains calcium, magnesium and iron. 

The CO₂ mixture reacts to the minerals in the rock and after about two years it forms solid calcium carbonate in the rock's pores, trapping it there forever.

This process is known as Carbon Capture and it isn't just confined to Iceland. In fact, basalt rock, which the process relies on, is the most common on Earth, covering 10 percent of continents and most ocean basins.

Iceland is now looking to extend this technology to heavy industrial plants and other CO₂-emitting sources in the country and is encouraging other countries around the world to follow its path.