Scientists are increasingly interested in flood basalts as potential sites for the permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Researchers at the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership (BSCSP), at the Wallula Basalt Pilot Project in Washington State, have turned liquefied CO2 into solid rock by injecting the gas into basalt formations.

This type of carbon capture and storage (CCS) could help manage the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and in turn help to mitigate global warming,

BSCSP is conducting a small-scale field project near Wallula, Washington. The project’s main objectives include:

  • Conduct geological site characterisation activities to ensure the site is a safe location to inject CO2.
  • Participate in public outreach activities in an effort to engage local stakeholders in the process.
  • Address and comply with all local, state, and federal permitting procedures.
  • Inject 1,000 tonnes of CO2 into the underground basalt formation.

The injection phase will test the behavior and chemical reactions that take place between the injected CO2 and surrounding basalt environment. The study is the first field demonstration of its kind in the United States, and results will provide scientists with crucial information on the potential for basalt formations to provide long-term storage of CO2 emissions.