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Carbfix turns CO2 into stone: the end of global warming?

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

An Icelandic startup is tackling a key piece of the climate change puzzle by turning carbon dioxide into rock, allowing the greenhouse gas to be stored forever instead of escaping into the atmosphere.

Reykjavik-based Carbfix captures and dissolves CO₂ in water, then injects it into the ground where it turns into rock in less than two years. "It's a technology that can be scaled up - it's cheap, economical and environmentally friendly," said Edda Sif Pind Aradottir, CEO of Carbfix, in an interview.

Carbfix grew out of a research project and was founded in 2007 by Reykjavik Energy, the University of Iceland, CNRS in France and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. It is owned by Reykjavik Energy.

"We are simply doing what nature has been doing for millions of years, so we are helping nature help itself."

Carbfix is extending its project to the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant to capture carbon emissions as they are emitted, and it is partnering with Swiss startup Climeworks AG, which builds machines to capture CO₂ directly from the air.

When it comes to carbon capture, Hellisheidi's plant is able to do it at a lower cost than buying carbon credits, according to Aradottir.

His process costs about $25 a ton, while the current price is about 40 euros ($48) a ton on the EU's emissions trading scheme, the bloc's main policy tool for reducing emissions.

Bill Gates and Microsoft are backing Climeworks' plans. "Climeworks' direct air capture technology will be a key component of our carbon elimination efforts," said Elizabeth Willmott, Microsoft's carbon elimination manager.

The company aims to reach one billion metric tons of CO₂ permanently stored by 2030.

Europe could theoretically store at least 4 trillion metric tons of CO₂ in rocks, while the United States could store at least 7.5 trillion metric tons.

Source: Bloomberg

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