Storing carbon dioxide underground by turning it into rock

From the AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, an idea that might actually work in a few places, but won’t really matter in the larger scheme of global CO2 volume. I also wonder about saturation. It seems they’d continuously have to drill new wells as the porosity of the basalt would be reduced close to the well casing, and eventually new CO2 being injected would likely not penetrate after awhile. Ironically, injecting “dangerous chemicals” into the ground is the cornerstone of the fracking objection, and since the same people who often protest fracking also protest CO2 as a “dangerous chemical” you’d think they would be against something that would turn mother Gaia to stone. We shall see.

Storing carbon dioxide underground by turning it into rock

In November, the Paris Climate Agreement goes into effect to reduce global carbon emissions. To achieve the set targets, experts say capturing and storing carbon must be part of the solution. Several projects throughout the world are trying to make that happen. Now, a study on one of those endeavors, reported in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, has found that within two years, carbon dioxide (CO2) injected into basalt transformed into solid rock.


A core sample from a carbon storage project in Washington state showed that carbon dioxide injected deep underground into basalt rock turned into the carbonate mineral ankerite in less than two years (inset). CREDIT American Chemical Society

Lab studies on basalt have shown that the rock, which formed from lava millions of years ago and is found throughout the world, can rapidly convert CO2 into stable carbonate minerals. This evidence suggests that if CO2 could be locked into this solid form, it would be stowed away for good, unable to escape into the atmosphere. But what happens in the lab doesn’t always reflect what happens in the field. One field project in Iceland injected CO2 pre-dissolved in water into a basalt formation, where it was successfully stored. And starting in 2009, researchers with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Montana-based Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership undertook a pilot project in eastern Washington to inject 1,000 tons of pressurized liquid CO2 into a basalt formation.

After drilling a well in the Columbia River Basalt formation and testing its properties, the team injected CO2 into it in 2013. Core samples were extracted from the well two years later, and Pete McGrail and colleagues confirmed that the CO2 had indeed converted into the carbonate mineral ankerite, as the lab experiments had predicted. And because basalts are widely found in North America and throughout the world, the researchers suggest that the formations could help permanently sequester carbon on a large scale.


The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Department of Energy; the National Energy Technology Laboratory; the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership; Shell Exploration & Production Company; Portland General Electric; and Schlumberger Inc.

The paper’s abstract will be available on Nov. 18 here:

141 thoughts on “Storing carbon dioxide underground by turning it into rock

      • Would be easier and far less expensive to plant forests of fast growing trees like poplar. Plant them, let them sink Carbon, harvest and replant every 5 years, and then bury the harvested trunks in deep pits for future fossil fuels

      • In reply to Bryan A: Or use them as renewable fuel right away. This could be done in parts of the world that are suffering deforestation due to fuel needs. Haiti comes to mind. Pay Haitians to plan forests which would give them jobs today and forests and fuel tomorrow.

      • Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be a carbon sink then just a carbon bank. The only way to sink the carbon for good is to bury it and forget about it until it turns to oil/coal

    • Why?
      Simple. It’s called contingency planning. Unless you believe the science is settled it makes sense to
      plan for contingencies.
      Did you think the science was settled and that C02 could have no effect?. I guess so.. another fake skeptic

      • It only makes sense to plan for realistic contingencies. The precautionary principle is more about politics and control than real life.

      • It may, but warmer is better anyway, and CO2 is beneficial for the entire biosphere.
        In fact there has never been one single bad outcome related to a warming planet or a higher level of atmospheric CO2.
        How about we stop scaring children with scary fear mongering and spend our time and money on things that we can identify as ACTUAL problems, and forget about this alarmist fantasy and ploy for a globalist power grab?

      • The Precautionary Principle is what “climate scientists™” fall back on when their pseudo-science fails.
        It is, in fact, an admission of their failure to actually prove anything.
        Just another lemon, Mosh.

      • Lol, Steven. I can just see you….
        Standing in line for a routine commercial flight with a parachute strapped onto your back…..
        Before getting into your (hm. what would Steven drive….) ….. Volvo (with the aftermarket “Safety Package” — roll cage, fire extinguisher, 4 spare tires, and extra flares) to go across town to Costco to get a second rubber raft (this one for the backyard — no, it hasn’t flooded on your hill since the days of Noah, but, you just never know, do you), and a twenty-year supply of dental floss (they might stop making it), packing the back full of (hm. what would he eat…..) …. of 50 boxes of Lucky Charms, bags of dried fruit, powdered milk, and gallons of water…… and lemon juice (or was that vinegar, heh — yes, SM, I know that you were not born sour…. the real you is still in there…. and someday…… lay off the vinegar, man 🙂 ) …
        Walking up the beach with a friend, he in his jeans and sweatshirt, you in your scuba gear, Helly Hansen mackintosh, and kevlar boots, the jaunty jangle of your canteen, tent pegs, and machete ringing out a cheerful accompaniment.
        And the question remains: Why?

      • Steven, why would I plan a contingency so Ludacris? Please defend the material cost of creating what amount to underground carbonic mountain ranges? That’s likely the dumbest sequestration plan of all time? What’s the timeline for such a contingency? While the science is certainly not settled, I don’t plan on defending lunacy for the sake of satisfying the cautionary principle. Fake skeptic eh

      • Why is Mosher cherry picking the contingencies he wants to plan for? Is it not settled science that the planet goes through cooling cycles on a regular basis? So wouldn’t it be wise to plan for the next ice age? How do we know we won’t need that extra CO2 to prevent a mile of ice from burying our northern cities? It would be foolish to plan for only one contingency when there are other likely possibilities. Or does Mosher think we should deny our planet’s history of ice ages simply because it doesn’t fit with his agenda?

      • Steven Mosher November 19, 2016 at 12:09 pm
        “It’s called contingency planning.”
        Actually a better term would be lack of imagination. If you can temporarily store the CO2 ,ship it to Green house farms were it will be used. Why burn fuel to supple the Green house when you use captured CO2? The scheme of burying it is wasteful.

      • Precaution is acceptable to prepare against something that has a finite chance of occurring and a potentially bad outcome. While climate science certainly isn’t ‘settled’, and in fact is demonstrably broken, basic thermodynamics and radiative physics has been settled for a century and it’s abundantly clear that the actual sensitivity of the planet to forcing is low and that the probability of a sensitivity in the range hypothesized by the IPCC (0.8C +/- 0.4C per W/m^2) is for all intents and purposes, zero, moreover; nobody can actually show how that even if the sensitivity was as impossibly high as claimed, that higher temperatures would be harmful, especially since the bulk of any temperature increases would be in latitudes closer to the poles where cold is the danger, not warmth.

      • Steven Mosher says:
        “Did you think the science was settled and that C02 could have no effect?”
        Who said that, other than you?
        I can’t recall any skeptic saying ‘the science is settled’, or that “C02” can have no effect. But maybe I missed a comment or two over the past decade…
        “Simple. It’s called contingency planning.”
        Wrong again, Steven, as others have pointed out. “Contingency planning” is just another way of using the Precautionary Principle to justify feeding at the public trough.
        The real question should be: Can we see the cost/benefit analysis?
        But those analyses are never done for proposed windmill farms. If a C/B analysis had been done we wouldn’t have windmills enriching a select few while ruining the landscape for everyone.
        For example, we just returned from Hawaii. We never saw any windmills during our previous trips there. Now look:
        If an honest cost/benefit analysis had been done, Hawaiians wouldn’t have these monstrosities inflicted on them:
        So to answer S. Mosher’s questions:
        1. The science is never settled
        2. CO2 has a (minuscule) effect
        Any other questions, Steven? We’re here to help.

      • Would you like to buy my tiger repelling rock? I can personally attest to never having been attacked by a tiger while I had this rock in my possession. Just as a contingency, of course.

      • Tony, I think you need to take those global sea ice figures with a healthy dose of salt. It seems very suspicious to me that sea ice area is supposedly diverging sharply from its historical norms right after the satellites that were monitoring it have failed.
        The DMSP F17 & F19 satellites both failed earlier this year. The DMSP F18 satellite, which was pressed into service after the failures of F19 & F17, isn’t very healthy, either. As of mid-2015 it had only 10 of 24
        SSMIS channels still functional. How much does that degrade it’s capabilities for measuring sea ice?
        This is a close-up of the tail end of the University of Illinois’ graph of global sea ice extent:
        That straight line, which I circled, is because of the satellite failures.
        Here’s their whole graph:

      • Back to C/B analysis. A recent gene manipulation showed we could alter tobacco to increase yields by 15% to 20%. The same genetic manipulation can be used with food crops, and trees. If people are obsessed with sequestering carbon, a better idea is planting faster growing trees. It’s cheaper, and has other applications like: more food, more biofuel, annoying green groups because it’s a GMO technique.
        Pop article GMO with boosted photosynthesis
        Paper: “Improving photosynthesis and crop productivity by accelerating recovery from photoprotection

      • The oceans do it naturally, and far more efficiently than we can. Where do you think all the limestone in the world both came from and comes from? So why even bother?

      • The upside to additional CO2 is HUGE compared to any negative impact, Mosher. By now it would be obvious if CO2 had a negative impact compared to the greening of the earth and support of worldwide foodstuff production. But it doesn’t!
        Get over your “contingency planning”–that’s just another excuse to waste money studying this subject to death. Get rational!

      • CO2 does not have no affect, however it has been proven that the affect is so small that it doesn’t matter.
        Beyond that, more CO2 in the air has been proven to be beneficial to plants.
        The only thing fake around here is your claim to be intelligent.

      • It makes no sense spending funds on removing a beneficial gas from the atmosphere.
        Yes, I think geologic history has proven that CO2 will have no effect.
        If planning for contingencies is important to you, then I would think you are a devote Christian just in case.

      • Mosh,
        Just curious. The Columbia River basalts are flood basalts that occur in essentially eastern Washington state, Idaho and parts of Oregon (did my geology field camp out there decades ago, sorry you can look up the exact extent). There are a few other flood basalt locations (Deccan Traps come to mind), but for “contingency planning” what do you do in the vast areas that don’t have convenient, local basalt formations to inject the CO2 into?

      • The science says sea critters will do this job for free. No human interaction required (except to stop grossly polluting the oceans, which I’m all for).

    • Ferzackerly, Janice. But the ‘Powers that Be’ want to ensure that the ‘Poorers that Be’ continue to keep them in a style to which they have become accustomed. In the meantime, they’ve all gone to Marrakesh to learn the real meaning of Baksheesh.

    • Amen to that!
      Assumptions based on assumptions based on…., I don’t know. Mankind is a cancer on Ma’ Gaia’s butt?
      That seems to the common theme running through all the green efforts going back at least to Rachael Carson.

    • The very same question was my first thought. This method is needed only, if CO2 is really a strong GH gas. But it is not and it will never increase the temperature over 1 Celcius degrees.

    • Drilling each well, going to the site, etc would create more CO2 than this could ever sequester. So this is about Keynesian hole digging, giving academics jobs that they would be unable to find otherwise. I like the idea of them going to Mars better. Off planet and its all their problem. Keep them here and its ours. Mars may have CO2 that needs sequestering and fill it with warmistas and the net population on Mars would all “care” and the Marsian science would be “settled”.

    • The” Why” is entirely political as it serves agenda goals, forcing the peoples to let the governments take over our lives.
      What is interesting is the future. If they (we) sequestered CO2 into stone for many years, we would eventually find CO2 decreasing to the level of plant death (plants stop photosynthesizing at ~200 ppm and die below that). Concurrent with the decreasing CO2 would be a decreasing oxygen concentration which means all other lifeforms are at risk
      Goody, at least we have a goal and a clear idea of the ending. We are all going to die.

    • Why?
      To store it for the future ice age when we have run out of oil and are biggest concern will be how to get CO2 into the atmosphere fast enough to keep agriculture from crashing. We can add these rocks to the 1000’s of limestone furnaces which by then will already be replenishing atmospheric CO2. On the plus side, concrete will be real cheap.

      • Limestone furnaces need to much energy. Acids like HCl (a cheap byproduct of the NaOH production) are more effective in order to liberate CO2 from its limestone prison to serve the cycle of life again. The remaining CaCl2 can be dumped into the oceans with no harm.

        • Gentle Tramp,
          Yes, limestone furnaces take energy, but I was considering that we will have fusion and cheap electricity long before we run out of fossil fuels to burn. A more ironic solution will be to locate the furnaces in sunny deserts and run them on solar electricity …

      • @co2isnotevil
        Well, in a future glacial period it will be quite likely that mankind uses both methods to produce enough CO2 to yield sufficient amounts of food when the atmospheric CO2 content is sinking again to dangerously low values below 200 ppm…

      1. Atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high; in fact, it is dangerously low for the survival of terrestrial carbon-based life on Earth. Most plants evolved with about 4000ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, or about 10 times current CO2 concentrations.
      2. In one of the next global Ice Ages, atmospheric CO2 will approach about 150ppm, a concentration at which terrestrial photosynthesis will slow and cease – and that will be the extinction event for much or all of the terrestrial carbon-based life on this planet.
      3. More atmospheric CO2 is highly beneficial to all carbon-based life on Earth. Therefore, CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.
      4. As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on this planet, I feel the duty to advocate on our behalf. I should point out that I am not prejudiced against non-carbon-based life forms. They might be very nice, but I do not know any of them well enough to form an opinion. 🙂
      The global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975 (during a time of increasing atmospheric CO2) demonstrates that climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero – so close to zero as to be insignificant.
      This and other evidence strongly supports the conclusion that there is NO global warming crisis, except in the minds of warmist propagandists.
      There is overwhelming evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans is not dangerously high – it is dangerously low, too low for the continued survival of life on Earth.
      I have written about the vital issue of “CO2 starvation” since 2009 or earlier, and others including Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, have also written on this subject:
      Executive Summary
      This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth.
      This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation. It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.
      [end of Exec Summary]
      Low CO2 means no photosynthesis, and that means the end of all carbon-based life on Earth. During the last Ice Age, which ended only 10,000 years ago, atmospheric CO2 was so low that photosynthesis slowed to a crawl – it was close to an extinction event. In the next Ice Age, which is imminent, or the one after that, or the one after that, we could see the end of carbon-based life on Earth – due to CO2 starvation.
      It gets a little more complicated – there are C3, C4 and CAM plants, but the issue is pretty much the same. Almost all plants including almost all food plants are C3 and will die out at 150 ppm CO2.
      However, you warmists are not all bad: Every time you breath out, you make a little flower happy. 🙂
      Regards, Allan

      • You beat me to it. However, a brief summary / sound bite may be useful: Actual science – as opposed to politically corrupted pseudo-science – indicates that a catastrophic natural deficit of CO2 is a far – if not infinitely (that whole divide by zero thing) – greater risk than catastrophic anthropogenic excess of CO2.

    • It took two years for the CO2 to be absorbed? Just how many wells are they going to have to drill to hold all the CO2 created in a single year?

  1. Maybe the good people at the American Chemical Society being supposidly chemical reaction experts can show us proof relationship of c02 to AGW, CAGW?

      • Arrhenius showed, originally, 3°-4.5°C per doubling of CO2, but later determined 1.5°C per doubling. Of course the IPCC will only latch on to the higher rate. Oh, and then Angstrom’s assistant showed that adding more CO2 showed no effect as all the IR was already being absorbed at current levels. Is that the reading you are referring to?

      • On a dry planet CO2 would cause warming. On our planet the amount of warming (if any) is not clear. Net effects are complex; for example Sahara is greening while the planet is probably warming up.

      • was given in 1896” The standard thinking of climate modelers and AGW-believers — that the Stefan-Boltzmann equation is a valid theory of climate. That supposition was a crock in 1896 and it’s still a crock now.

      • Arrhenius also recognized that a warmer planet and higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere were both beneficial, not harmful. Not harmful to life, or human endeavors, or agriculture, or anything else.
        Which was why he was originally an advocate of adding more CO2 to the air to increase the concentration on purpose for the benefit of mankind.
        But I guess Mosher forgot about that part of the story.

      • And the thermal photons absorbed by CO2 don’t stay dead.
        So Beer’s Law doesn’t hold. The CO2 can re-emit (isotropically) and continue to absorb at higher altitudes.

      • There was no proof of CO2 warming in a convective atmosphere given by Arrhenius
        It was pure supposition, and has progressed no further.

      • Sorry Mosher, that is not proof. That is evidence that MAYBE there is potentially a concern. However, before ANY effect of man’s CO2 can be discerned you have to first establish what Earth’s normal pattern of temperature cycling is. In science I think they refer to that as knowing what the background is before trying to discern the signal. The CAGW types thought they had it when they proposed Mann’s Hockey Stick but that was thoroughly debunked. There is literally no proof to indicate anything abnormal is/was occurring. THUS there is no need to try and attribute man’s CO2 to causing a significant effect on anything (other than increase plant/food growth) because as of yet, there has been NO significant effect!

      • Simple experiment to prove how dangerous CO2 is. Get a gas mask, and use CO2 absorbers to scrub all CO2 from your breath. It’s not expensive to do. As CO2 is an essential nutrient of life, I would expect a life expectancy of say, 20 minutes. Have someone stand by with a resuscitator to revive you after you lose consciousness.
        Or go to a conference or meeting. Measure the CO2 levels in the room. They should easily exceed 1000 ppm, maybe hit 2000 ppm if it’s a really good talk. Watch everyone live.
        Pollutant? Look at sequential NASA photo’s of the greening planet as CO2 rises. It has been particularly delightful in my area, with my dry dusty town in a marginal area going green. The wild life absolutely loves it.

      • george e. smith says:
        The CO2 can re-emit (isotropically)…
        Interesting word: isotropically. That would indicate a negative temperature feedback, no?
        I’d really love to discuss it, but the author of the comment that started this sub-thread has apparently skedaddled as usual. Maybe this is why:
        It is difficult to make a man understand something when his livelihood depends on not understanding it.
        ~ Upton Sinclair

        Or, maybe…
        Qui tacet consentire videtur.” (Roughly, ‘silence indicates consent’.)

      • You’ve been brainwashed, Mosher. More important than reading is understanding what you’re reading–which failure is obvious in your case.

      • Rocky, I don’t think he’s been brain-washed.. he has just sold out his integrity for employment.
        He has never been anything but a sales frontman… a sales con-artist.
        They are easy to pick.
        A perfect match for Muller et al.

      • Geeze, read it again, the whole thing. Also, if you’re going to accuse others of cherrypicking, read his later paper.

  2. Whoa there, Skippy. First, show us that CO2 is anything but an entirely beneficial gas, before proposing these outlandish, hideously expensive ways of burying it.

  3. I anticipate the day in the near future when deliberate sequestration of our precious live giving atmospheric CO2 will be considered heinous.

    • Well you are actually sequestering atmospheric Oxygen. We have too much of that any how. It causes forest fires.

      • Well, not really. It is one of three requirements of fire. Oxygen and a fuel, wood, in that forest, and an ignition source.

  4. I don’t want to be living anywhere near where carbon dioxide is pumped into the ground. Molecular weight of CO2: 44 Molecular weight of air, about 29. Guess what happens if there is a major leak?

  5. Far more sensible from a cost/benefit point, to store it in the atmosphere and turn it into food.
    Cost = ZERO.. ie the same as the amount of proof that CO2 causes warming in a convective atmosphere.

    • Storing it in the atmosphere! Good idea!
      The simplest solution is the best solution. Especially since there is no evidence that storing CO2 in the atmosphere is detrimental to humans or the Earth’s climate.

  6. CCS has been around for a long time. It has been through a number of cycles of acceptance and rejection by environmental groups. Here is a like to NETL work and info on CCS:
    Rentech envisioned a Coal-To-Liquids plant producing 30,000 bbl/day of Fischer-Tropsch liquids and about 20,000 tons/day of CO2 which would be used for enhanced oil recovery. This is a safe use of CO2 and it is captured in the rock formations while displacing oil through both chemistry and pressure.
    CO2 can also be injected into saline aquifers which exist in a large number of locations. There at least 75% of the CO2 reacts over time to form solid carbonates.
    The basalt reaction was not discussed to my knowledge so it presents yet another avenue to storage.
    But none of this comes cheap. Pressurizing CO2 to a liquid costs at least $20/MT or more. Then there is the drilling of potential sites, injection, maybe fracking the formation, and all the long term monitoring required to make sure the CO2 doesn’t escape (both real and imagined fears).
    So that adds a lot of cost to a project that produces CO2 as a by-product like CTL. But the advantage of CTL is that CO2 is removed from the coal gasification process as a matter of design and that equipment is needed whether the CO2 is vented or captured. With NG and Coal power plants, unless they are oxygen feed, they require additional scrubbing equipment that is quite expensive to product and use consuming a lot of power in the process.
    So CCS fall into the category of “Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.”

    • Dr. Bob,
      There isn’t just the cost in dollars. There will probably be CO2 generated in the processes of drilling and fracking, compressing the CO2, and transporting the liquid CO2 from source areas to disposal sites. What one needs to look at also is the net sequestration.

      • Clyde, Yes, those CO2 emissions would be included in a lifecycle assessment of the system. But they would be small in comparison to the massive amount of CO2 stored. I am not saying that it is right or even needed to store CO2, just providing information on the process. A life cycle assessment is a very subjective thing. what is and what is not included depends as much on politics as on science. Witness the vast difference in GHG emissions calculations for something as simple as growing corn for fuel ethanol. One side says it reduces GHG emissions (mainly CO2, but also N2O and other gases), and another side says that corn ethanol increases overall GHG emissions and AGW due to both Land Use Change and GHG emissions.
        But all this is just discussion as there is no need for ethanol for fuel and what anthropogenic GHG emissions occur pail in comparison to natural events and China increasing CO2 emissions dramatically. But the debate continues ad nauseam. And the Greens continue to ignore the benefit side of the equation.

      • “massive amount of CO2 stored”
        And by what tiny, infinitesimal amount would it reduce atmospheric CO2?
        I’m guessing 10th or further decimal place when written as a percentage.
        A FOOL’S ERRAND if ever there was one.

    • In terms of cash, it costs about $50 tonne to liquefy and transport CO2.
      In terms of power plants, it generally reduces output by 25-35%. You have to burn about 30% more coal, to get the same saleable energy out.

  7. Anthony: your I also wonder about saturation. It seems they’d continuously have to drill new wells as the porosity of the basalt would be reduced close to the well casing, and eventually new CO2 being injected would likely not penetrate after awhile
    Its similar to oil or gas wells that have damage near the well bore. If you get past the wellbore, you regain effective permeability, even if is damaged. The rule of thumb is that if you get 1 meter from the wellbore, you regain 80-90% of your effective permeability, even if there is still damage 1 meter out.
    The damage slows the fluid flow, but the increased surface area in the lateral section of the cylinder, means the amount of fluid increases, even at slower flow rates.
    example 1- 1 meter formation height, 0.15 meter radius wellbore. 10% porosity = 0.09 m2 of flow area
    example 2 – 1 meter formation height, 1 meter radius wellbore, 10% porosity = 0.628 m2 flow area
    Even with 85% damage at 1 meter out, you still get the same flow as undamaged at the wellbore
    You can use HCl to remove the near wellbore damage, or do a small fracture to get past it. In either event, near wellbore damage is not a real issue. The real constraint will be the reservoir size, porosity and permeability.
    So, while I am highly skeptical of CCS, the issue you bring up is not really a concern.

    • The real issue is basalt as the reservoir. It will have a very low porosity and permeability. I am guessing the porosity to be 1 to 2%, which is really limits how much CO2 you could pump into it. Sandstone is generally about 15-25%. Limestone is 10%-20%. Shales are 5% or less.

  8. Forams and other creatures have been doing this since the Ediacaran/Cambrian transition, perhaps 600 million years. Their cumulative efforts have tied up so much Carbon that our current Pleistocene biosphere is severely Carbon starved. We live on a Carbon Starved Planet.

    • No, that would cause it to rot, releasing eeevil co2. The best bet would be to chip the wood and cover your rosebeds with said chips.
      The delightful sound of green heads exploding is a side benefit 🙂

  9. I worked on the mineralogy and chemistry of Dolerites (related to basalt) for many years. It was the subject of my Ph,D. thesis. I have difficulty believing that any significant chemical reaction of the kind envisaged can take place, even with fracking the basalt to open up fissures all over the place. Basalts and Dolerites are hard, stable, and resistant rock types to all manner of insults. Think Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, N. Ireland. This is just another pie-in-the-sky attempt to get funding for a worthless project. Time will expose all.

    • I doubt that much reaction with the basalt occurs. Carbonate laden water just needs temperature. We see carbonate damage in oil and gas wells, from associated produced waters. Some wells have to be acidized once a year.
      This is not new science. I am not sure how they got this past peer review. If submitted to an oil journal, the result would have been: “Really? We have known this since the 1930s”

      • Not new science?
        Anthony wrote “But what happens in the lab doesn’t always reflect what happens in the field.”
        Are you saying his skepticism was misplaced?

      • Mosh: Having worked in the lab,and in the field, I can state with certainty that what happens in the lab often conflicts with what happens in the field.
        In this case, while the science is quite old, what works in the lab or field test (injection into basalt), is not applicable in the real world.
        The math is pretty simple. 1-2% porosity in basalt vs 10-40% in sedimentary rocks.

      • Well in the lab, you don’t have a layer of CO2 that is thousands of meters thick like the atmosphere. So the processes of re-emission and re-absorption can’t be demonstrated in the lab in a way that is relevant in the atmosphere.

      • Andy G55 said:
        Les, you have got to remember, Mosh never did any real science training.
        SM does have a degree in English.
        But after reading scores of comments with his *ahem*non-standard prose and punctuation, I wonder: how can that possibly be??
        Therefore, it’s safe to say that his Science must be better than his English!
        (Back-handed compliments are one of my useful literary tools…)

    • The consensus says CO2 reacts with basalt and mineralizes. If you don’t believe it, you are a d_______r. /sarc

      • Lava is essentially glassy silica and feldspar with varying types and amounts of each. Basalt has less silica and more feldspar. So the claim is that there is a CO2-feldspar reaction. The only reaction they have been testing so far popularized in literature is olivine reactions. Yet there are very few basalts with visible olivine inclusions. That is quite rare. So they would have to be claiming reactions with trace olivine, which is not very efficient. The CO2 is just not going to react with the basalt groundmass. Otherwise they would have to depend on something like a high geothermal gradient to get supercritical CO2 to react. That is 33 C or so, not very high. The geothermal gradient would have to be mapped out at depth, which is not cheap.

  10. Geoengineering of the trace gas CO2 essential to life, to bury it, is the most dangerously stupid activity that humans have ever devised. It is much bigger a threat than nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. While they’re at it, why don’t they bury oxygen to stop the forest fires burning all that liberal real estate in California?

    • When you bury (sequester) CO2, you ARE in fact burying oxygen (the O2 side of CO2). In fact… TWICE as much Vs carbon. GK

  11. Once again, carbon capture and storage is completely foolish and very dangerous. It will do nothing but drive up the cost of energy, which will in turn drive up the cost of everything else. The temperature effect on the environment based on a rational examination of the data will be minimal while the at the same time reducing plant and food growth. The quantities of CO2 that would need to be stored is 100s of millions of train cars of liquid CO2 per year. Congress needs to simply reverse the CO2 endangerment finding and put an end to this Progressive non-sense. If the US final stops this Progressive CO2 agenda, then the whole world will follow our lead because the agenda is really about deindustrializing the US and lowering the average standard of living here.

  12. I’ve wondered about carbonate attachment to basalt for a few years and have mentioned so here a couple of times. We have lots of basalt, just a few miles from Basalt Mtn., near Basalt CO. Any time a piece of basalt is dug up, the buried portion is likely to have a white deposit on it, which would appear to be a carbonate material. It seemed to be a natural sequestering that was never mentioned.

  13. “[S]tarting in 2009, researchers with…the Montana-based BS Carbon Sequestration Partnership undertook a pile-it project…”
    How deep, I wonder…?

  14. I think reforestation beginning now is more helpful than thinking about storing Co2 underground. Reforestation works for sure. Who can tell whether storing CO2 underground works at all? Reforestation generates timber and creates income. Storing CO2 is just like burying money so that it can never be recovered again.

  15. You know, the planet has been storing carbon dioxide without human interaction for a long time. Ever hear of limestone? Chalk?

  16. CO2 again. What a load of crap. And the Mosh is hollering there is “proof” that CO2 warms the planet.
    Well, we are not allowed to go to that issue due to site policy so I’ll just say that CO2 has been much higher than present and life flourished. I would like to see it at 3 times present at least. Warming? CO2 does not do anything but line the pockets of the #$#^## and the @$@$44 The so-called “proofs” of CO2 caused warming are ridiculous, .

    • No kidding, Mark. Ever notice, that anywhere, the local non atmospheric chemists, forbid anyone to talk about the laws of atmospheric chemistry, it turns out they believe in the GHGE and the ability of CO2 to warm atmospheric volumes?
      For those of you who don’t know about this the law of thermodynamics for solving the temperature of any volume of atmospheric air, specifically forbidst CO2 warming that volume; and in fact CO2 has a lower specific energy than atmospheric mix.
      Furthermore all GHGs are passive, refractory media in a bath of compressible fluids constituted by the overall nitrogen/oxygen bath – and it’s impossible for any passive, refractory medium,
      to get between a source of illumination and anything warmed by it,
      and have more light leave that object, than when more light was arriving.
      The entire CO2 scam is pure and total fraudulent fiction: as is proven by the fact that
      the site ownership claims ‘the basic science’ (of mis-calculating temperature of gases through refusing to complete the equations – accounting for gas density) ‘is real’
      ANY persistent reference to the foundational flaws in the bullsh** story are pre-screened through selectively reviewing real atmospheric science and not printing it,
      or the site owners attempt to personally argue with the person and claim to have had ‘hurt feelings’ so they can ban that author or scientist.
      Another policy where people believe in the fake bullsh** is insistence that reference to peer review means something factual; when the entire world saw scientists mocking the peer review process in Climate Gate, and everyone who knows anything of science in the early 21st century
      knows peer review really means ‘pay-pal’ review. Pals get paid for reviewing positively or not.

  17. Instead of turning CO2 into rocks, they could turn it into fuel:
    “ULSAN, South Korea, Nov. 18 (UPI) — Researchers have developed a new way to turn captured CO2 into liquid biofuel capable of powering vehicles.
    Scientists have previously converted H2 and CO2 into usable fuel, but the catalysts required are weak and the conversion process leaves plenty of CO2 leftover. Chemical engineers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, have discovered a more effective catalyst.”

  18. Why would you want to store a harmless gas, like CO2, beneficial to plants and animals, deep underground at great expense, when the cold oceans are doing that for you for free?

  19. I think they’re going to have to massively frack basalt strata with nuclear explosives to make them permeable enough to absorb meaningful amounts of CO2 compared to human output. And then there is the cost involved…
    It’s another fail, fail, fail.

    • No, they must have scoria basalt. Continental sheet flows and olivine basalts are just solid. You can frack fractured rock and essentially pump in surfactants to increase oil flow, but you cannot pump in air or water to frack solid rock like basalt. That is like saying you can frack a block of concrete by drilling a hole and pouring in water or air.

  20. Nobody has ever shown that CO2 can effect ANY changes to climate – and very little to ocean acidification. That’s because it can be shown that it CANNOT (as shown on my site; you’ll need a bit of Science).

  21. The science seems settled according to two sources.
    Besides sequestration they suggest reflecting sunlight might be more efficient (see page 20). One has to wonder about their credibility for other subjects covered.
    On the Wall Street Journal Report on Energy for November 14, all of seven subjects with “invited advocates on each side” were clearly searching for solutions other than that above. Number one on the front page was “Is Nuclear Power Vital to Hitting Emissions Targets.” The three about the oil and gas industry were one about OPEC, “Does the OIl-and-Gas Industry Still Need Tax Breaks” and “Are Low Oil Prices Good for the Economy.” The last one was “Insights on Climate Change and Carbon Pricing.” Not sure I covered everything in the article, but decades ago when this sort of thing came up the response was “Let the %$#%$ freeze in the dark.” Sad thing is that rational discussions about our complete energy future would be logical in a world actually concerned.

  22. I think something is going to turn up which is going to Trump this plan.
    although I can’t for the life of me think what it will be.

  23. The picture is infilled vesicular basalt. That is a very specific kind. Most basalt is not vesicular, and when it is, it is already filled with something else like the chalcedony that is pictured. Second, it better be highly fractured basalt, and oceanic tholeiitic flows have no chance to store anything. Essentially, you have to find a scoria formation. However, scoria rock is probably fractured to the surface, so injection just leaks out. That means you need a good solid caprock over it. So the analysis for each site will be costly and complex to get all the right conditions. Of course, your well is going to immediately foul. Enormous amounts of carbon energy will be required to constantly punch holes in the right flow and pump it down.

  24. Mother Nature has been converting CO2 to carbonate rocks for at least hundreds of millions of years. The problem is that the process removes Carbon from the biosphere and hence threatens life on this planet as we know it. Rather than trying to remove even more carbon from the biosphere we should be searching for the most efficient way returning carbon that is currently locked up in carbonate rocks, to the biosphere.

  25. Maybe someone has already noted this (I haven’t read all the posts), but the injection of CO2 into basalt to form ankerite (Ca,Fe[CO3]2) etc., entails a significant volume increase, which could result in various unwanted ramifications, such as uplift and fracturing, leading to earthquakes. Has this been considered at all?

  26. This is in response to Menicholas who wrote on Nov. 19: In your second sentence you stated that there had never been a bad outcome from a warming planet or excess CO2 in the atmosphere. How would you like to live on the planet Venus? Don’t get me wrong I’m pretty much on your side in this argument but I think you may have overstated your position.

    • “never been a bad outcome from a warming planet or excess CO2 in the atmosphere”
      The surface of Venus is not hot because of a runaway GHG effect caused by CO2 as they would have you believe, but due to a runaway cloud effect and an atmosphere that weighs nearly as much as Earth’s oceans. You might be able to protect yourself from the temperature, but not the pressure …

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