To win the fight against climate change, we must reduce the amount of the greenhouse gas CO2 that is in the atmosphere. One way of doing this is by removing the CO2 from the air and putting it underground. However, the issues with todays’ methods are that once in the rock formation, the CO2 can leak back into the atmosphere or even trigger small earthquakes, but we also need to inject 500 times more CO2 into the ground than we do today.
The objective of the project PERBAS is to develop a method to inject gigatons of CO2 into rocks to really make a difference in reducing our emissions. The difference with other approaches is that we plan to inject CO2 into basalt rocks. Basalts are found all over the world often forming very thick and large strata. The other benefit of basalts is that this rock-type reacts with CO2, which will solidify and be trapped permanently as carbonate minerals. As simple as it sounds, we still need scientists from Norway, Germany, USA and India to work together to solve the remaining issues of storing CO2 into basalts. For example, geologists, volcanologists, and sedimentologists will work together to develop 3D Earth models, which is difficult because basalts are so hard that it is difficult to see through using seismic. We will also have a team of experimental geoscientists, physicists and mathematicians who will do experiments in the lab and simulations using computer codes. They will find the best way to inject CO2 into basalt, because if carbonate minerals form too soon, the reservoir will be clogged and rendered useless. We will regularly post our findings and progress in social media and answer questions to keep everyone interested in our activities. At the end of the project, PERBAS will have a recipe on how we can put gigatons of CO2 into basalt formations worldwide and help solve the climate crisis.
The current global CO2 storage capacity must increase by at least 500-fold to meet the 2050 emission reduction goals laid out by the IPCC. In this context, PERBAS proposes a radical solution where gigatons of supercritical CO2 can be permanently stored into basalt sequences on continental margins. The advantages of basalts as underground carbon storage sites are that CO2 reacts with the mineral phases to precipitate as carbonate in few years and that thick and extensive basalt sequences in volcanic provinces that are very common offshore away from populated areas. However, the technical and commercial success of carbon storage in basalts requires the development of new workflows, methods and sensors covering the whole value chain from carbon capture hubs to storage sites. In detail, innovations carried out within PERBAS will include the generation of a new dynamic 3D reservoir simulator implementing reactive-geomechanical flow processes to predict the geophysical response and advancement of the mineralization front, and deformations at various injection rates and PT conditions. Furthermore, we will develop new geochemical tracers and geophysical sensors for more efficient and economical site characterization and monitoring in challenging basalt environment. PERBAS will raise the TRL to 5-6 levels, which is necessary for a follow-up large-scale injection demonstration project in basalts. The consortium of research and industry partners includes four member countries within the ACT funding umbrella, with Germany, Norway, India and USA. The success of PERBAS requires that geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, mathematicians, modelers and engineers cooperate closely throughout the duration of the project. Finally, dissemination of project results with target the scientific community with high-impact publications, the industry with dedicated sessions in technology conferences, and public outreach with an engaging social presence to promote the social acceptance of CCS.