Scientists have successfully chemically solidified carbon dioxide, by capturing it from an electric power plant, pumping it into underground basalt formations and mixing it with water, reported Climate Central. “This opens another door for getting rid of carbon dioxide or storing carbon dioxide in the subsurface, which really wasn’t seen as a serious alternative in the past," said hydrologist Martin Stute, who co-authored the paper. The research, carried out at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant near Reykjavik in Iceland, was published in a lead journal, Science.

Basalt is a volcanic rock that makes up roughly 70% of the earth’s surface. When CO2 comes in contact with the volcanic rock and water, a chemical reaction converts the gas into a chalk-like solid substance. Scientists used to believe that such transformation would take thousands of years, till the team, working on the project named CarbFix managed to pull it off in two years.

Researchers are not sure why it took them such little time to finish the process. “The big surprise is that these reactions happen so quickly — even on an engineering project timescale,” Stute said. Scientists have often sadi that carbon capture and storage could help deal with climate change. However, they contended that storing CO2 in the gas form could lead to dangerous situations, as it could start leaking through fissures or terrorists could get hold of it. However, most of these problems can be solved by transforming the carbon dioxide into stone.

(The photograph above shows University of Iceland geologist Sandra Snaebjornsdottir displaying the stone-like substance formed using carbon dioxide.)