University researchers discover microbes that turn CO2 gas into rocks in major advance for carbon sequestration

By Mike Ray
Sanford Underground Research Facility
January 8, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

SOUTH DAKOTA — At room temperature, CO2, is a gas, which makes it hard to store for long periods of time. One idea to reduce carbon emissions involves pumping CO2 underground into deep caverns in a process called geologic sequestration. …However, keeping captured CO2 underground is a challenge. …To solve this problem, scientists are exploring efforts to bind CO2 gas underground by pumping it into rock layers with specific geochemical properties that will turn the gas into a carbonate mineral in a process called in-situ mineralization. This process takes 7 to 10 years, in nature. But an innovation discovered at the Sanford Underground Research Facility could change this. The team of researchers found a set of naturally occurring microbes that eat carbon dioxide gas and turn it into solid rock through a process called carbon mineralization. The results come thanks to a National Science Foundation grant of $300,000 that funded the initial research.

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