Taking the carbon burden off of our atmosphere is a prerequisite for curbing global warming, and thankfully, scientists over the world are working on a great variety of solutions to help us achieve this. Take Iceland, for instance, where 21st Century alchemists are transforming carbon dioxide into rock for eternity, cleaning the air of harmful emissions that cause global warming. The project is called CarbFix and its technology mimics, in an accelerated format, a natural process that can take thousands of years, injecting CO2 into porous basalt rock where it mineralizes, capturing it forever.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas emitted in large quantities by Iceland’s transport sector, industries and volcanoes. However, being a country of geysers, glaciers, and volcanoes, at least half of the energy produced comes from geothermal sources. That’s an advantage for the CarbFix researchers, who’ve turned the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, one of the world’s biggest, into their own laboratory. The plant, located on the Hengill volcano in southwestern Iceland, sits on a layer of basalt rock formed from cooled lava, and has access to virtually unlimited amounts of water.

The plant pumps up the water underneath the volcano to run six turbines providing electricity and heat to the capital, Reykjavik, about 30km away. The CO2 from the plant is meanwhile captured from the steam, liquefied into condensate, then dissolved in large amounts of fizzy water that’s later injected under high pressure into rock 1,000 meters under the ground. The solution fills the rock’s cavities and within two-years time it solidifies and captures the CO2 there forever.