Contender 7: Turn CO2 into harmless calcite minerals within Basalt Lava rock beds
Basalt—A Better Sequester?
Scientists Attempt to Permanently Trap Carbon Dioxide in Deep Basalt
Laboratory studies by researchers at the Battelle-operated
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
indicate basalt formations may quickly and effectively
sequester carbon dioxide (CO2), the predominant gas
implicated in global warming.
Researchers hope to test their findings when they
inject 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide—approximately
the amount of CO2 that a 150-megawatt, coal-fired
power plant emits daily—3,000 feet into
Washington State’s Columbia River basalt formation.
Their goal is to determine if the massive lava layers
can permanently store the CO2.
“If the process is viable, we think basalts
in the Pacific Northwest could sequester more
than a century’s worth of the CO2 generated
in the region and create a major opportunity
for zero-emission power generation in the Northwest,”
said Dr. Pete McGrail, project manager.
“Experimental data from our laboratory studies show
that carbon dioxide injected into the volcanic rock
should begin interacting with the minerals
in the basalt to form calcite, which is the primary
carbonate mineral in limestone, in four to six weeks,”
McGrail said. “This carbonate mineralization will
permanently and safely sequester the CO2
within the basalt formation —if it works in the field
like it has in the laboratory.”
Researchers: U.S. Department of Energy, Montana State University, and National laboratories (such as PNNL)