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Upscaling and optimizing subsurface, in situ carbon mineralization as an economically viable industrial option

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CarbFix2 (Upscaling and optimizing subsurface, in situ carbon mineralization as an economically viable industrial option)

Período documentado: 2020-02-01 hasta 2021-01-31

CarbFix2 builds upon the success of the original CarbFix project which has been ongoing since 2007 . In recent years, CarbFix has received worldwide recognition for developing novel, safe, and efficient geologic carbon storage method, which successfully converted injected CO2 into stable carbonate rocks within two years. The CarbFix2 project was designed to make the CarbFix geological storage method both economically viable with a complete CCS chain, and to make the technology transportable throughout Europe. This was done through a comprehensive project consisting of 1) the capture and co-injection of impure CO2 and other water-soluble polluting gases into the subsurface, 2) by integrating the CarbFix method with novel direct air capture technology and 3) developing the technology to perform the CarbFix geological carbon storage method using seawater injection into submarine rocks

A direct consequence of the CarbFix2 project is the commercial collaboration of Carbfix and Climeworks where 4,000 tonnes CO2 are captured from air by Climeworks and injected for permanent mineralisation by CarbFix.
CarbFix2 will move the demonstrated CarbFix technology from the demonstration phase to a more general and economically viable complete CCS chain that can be used in other places where basaltic storage formations are found. Towards this goal CarbFix2 will 1) extend the original CarbFix approach from the demonstration stage in one location to implementation under more diverse conditions, 2) install and demonstrate a capture process that removes CO2 directly from air adjacent to a suitable storage site, 3) significantly lower the cost of CCS by capturing gas mixtures rather than pure CO2 using a novel water based technique, and 4) increase the safety and geographical applicability of CCS. To attain these advances CarbFix2 will develop and deploy tasks focusing on different aspects of the CCS chain. Efforts will include:
- demonstrating a complete CCS chain from the capture with water of an impure CO2 gas stream at the CarbFix injection site in Hellisheidi, Iceland through its successful fixation as stable minerals in the subsurface
- demonstrating the significant economic advantages of this CarbFix2 CCS chain
- demonstrating a complete CCS system based on capturing CO2 from air, using low grade heat from industry coupled with the injection of this gas into the subsurface using the CarbFix method
- demonstrating the successful subsurface carbonation of impure CO2 at the industrial scale and significantly increasing our understanding of the effect of the composition of the gas injected into the subsurface, on geological carbon storage efficiency
- defining the environmental and safety risks associated with injection of impure CO2 and develop best practices for the in situ carbonation of pure and impure CO2
- assess conditions for the use of seawater co-injection to promote the carbonation of pure CO2 and impure CO2 in porous submarine basalts
- refining novel chemical and geophysical monitoring techniques to follow the fate and risks associated with pure and impure CO2 injection on shore and off shore and define methods to identify gas leaks and outline remediation strategies in fractured rock
- publicising and commercializing the results of CarbFix2 so that 1) they can be applied internationally and 2) to enhance public confidence in CCS
CO2 capture in CarbFix2 will be carried out through two different processes:
1. Industrial scale capture from otherwise emitted CO2 at Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
2. Pilot scale capture of CO2 directly from ambient air through a novel system

Captured CO2 will be transported towards the CarbFix injection site where it will be injected to a depth greater than 1000 m. The fate of injected gases will be monitored and modelled, e.g. through a comprehensive tracer study. Induced seismicity will be monitored and analysed.

In addition to further advance and develop on shore CCS as explained above, CarbFix2 will take important steps towards preparing for offshore carbon mineralization in basalts. There are numerous advantages in applying the CarbFix method to submarine basalts. First, there is far more storage available in porous sub-marine basalts than required for the geologic storage of all the anthropogenic CO2 that will ever be produced. Second this is an environmentally safe solution to the global CO2 challenge; the carbonation of subsurface marine basalts is a natural process that is widespread across the global oceans.

The main expected results and milestones of the CarbFix2 project include:
• Demonstration of direct capture of CO2 from air using heat from Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
• Injection of impure CO2 gas mixtures captured at Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
• Monitoring and modelling the fate of injected CO2 allowing for design of long-term reservoir management plans.
• Further understanding of gas re-injection on possible induced seismicity in the reservoir.
• Preparation for applying CarbFix to the sea floor through laboratory studies, background field studies and design of a CO2 seawater capture prototype.
• Detailed cost analysis on operating the CarbFix method at Hellisheidi power plant and monetary value on the added value of co-capturing H2S.
• Continuous, active and diverse engagement with stakeholders through comprehensive dissemination plans.

Replicability: The CarbFix method can be applied wherever a concentrated CO2 source, basalt and water coincide. Basalts cover 5% of the continents and most of the ocean floor is composed of basalts so worldwide capacities for replicating efforts in CarbFix are large. Direct CO2 capture from ambient air as is demonstrated in this project will furthermore allow for decoupling location of emissions from injection sites.
Socio-economics: Currently, the cost of the whole CCS chain exceeds the value of the carbon stored by close to an order of magnitude and is dominated by the CO2 capture processes and gas separation. To address the needs to bring down the costs of CCS, the CarbFix2 consortium will further develop methods for capturing impure CO2 gas streams, thereby bringing down costs significantly while also providing added value by co-capturing other environmentally important emission gases.
Environment: The overall objective of CarbFix2 is to bring CCS technology forward so that large scale carbon capture and storage can be carried out worldwide through a safe, permanent, economic and environmentally benign process. Through the project, 1/3 rd of CO2 emissions from the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant as well as CO2 from air will be captured and stored permanently in the subsurface.
Expected impact in call topic: a) Demonstration of safe and environmentally sound CO2 storage, b) Optimization of safe operation of storage sites, c) Fine-tuning regulatory issues, d) Promoting confidence in CO2 storage and building public awareness of CCS, e) Accelerate the development and deployment of CCS through cooperation between stakeholders and Member States/Associated Countries, f) Efficient use and stronger leverage of financial resources, g) Promote knowledge sharing. CarbFix2 has a predefined strategy to meet and deliver all the expected impacts above though R&D activities, dissemination efforts and its economic impact study.
CarbFix process at Hellisheidi power plant and conjugate application with direct air capture