Following gasworld’s recent exploration of carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration and other such processes, it’s since emerged that the potential exists for storage of CO2 into peridotite rock commonly found in the Middle East’s Oman.

Resolving the dilemma of what to do with atmospheric CO2 is a puzzle throughout industry and environment groups alike.

One solution could be the storage of huge amounts of CO2 in rock formations and Peter Kelemen, geologist at Columbia University, is enthusiastic about such prospects in a certain type of rock.

A type of rock named peridotite can be found in the Middle Eastern country of Oman, boasting the potential to store huge amounts of CO2, which is often cited as causing global warming.

Although considered a big ‘if’, the premise behind the idea of such storage is actually simple enough. The rocks react chemically with CO2, removing it from the air, while Kelemen and his colleague Jürg Matter have found that the reaction happens over a thousand times faster than previously thought.

Additionally, it is believed that the reaction can be sped up by drilling into the rock, and pre-heating it.

Speaking of the potential that the rocks possess, Kelemen told the EarthSky Communications Inc. science community, “If we were to put all of the human CO2 that we put into the atmosphere into those rocks in Oman, you could continue doing that for a thousand years without running out of rocks.”

“Our calculations suggest, optimistically, that you can take up to four billion tons of carbon dioxide per cubic kilometre of rock per year — and the current human input to the atmosphere is about ten times that, about 30 billion tons per year.”

Kelemen has also reportedly cautioned however, that field tests over the next few years are still needed to show the rock’s potential to help stabilise the Earth’s atmospheric CO2.