Scientists have a smart but simple way to deal with carbon dioxide emissions – to turn them back into stone. Researchers in Iceland pumped 220 tons of CO2 deep underground into volcanic rock. It reacted with the rock and relatively quickly, it transformed into a solid substance similar to limestone. The team were surprised at how fast the conversion happened. Lead scientist Juerg Matter said: "Of our 220 tons of injected CO2, 95 per cent was converted to limestone in less than two years….It was a huge surprise to all the scientists involved in the project, and we thought, 'Wow!'"
The scientists hope their experiment now moves to a larger scale. It could help the problem of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere and warming the planet. It could also be a key technique in carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions. Many other CCS techniques have involved injecting CO2 underground, but there was always the problem of the emissions leaking back above ground and into the atmosphere. Dr Matter was enthusiastic about the experiments. He said: "We need to deal with rising carbon emissions and this is the ultimate permanent storage – turn them back to stone."