ENVIRONMENT

Utah delegation explores Iceland’s example in carbon capture to reduce emissions

Jun 12, 2024, 5:48 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2024, 1:17 pm

REYKJAVIK, Iceland A Utah delegation is looking to Iceland to help pave the way for a cleaner energy future for the state. 

The delegation is focused on geothermal power, but they’re also looking at ways to get closer to net zero emissions.

Carbon capture and recycling could play a major role.

If you’ve ever heard of carbon credits, a lot of them go to a facility called Mammoth. It is the world’s largest carbon storage facility and is run by Carbfix, a subsidiary of Reykjavík Energy.

Mick Thomas, director of Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, speaks to KSL TV on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“Definitely, there’s potential in Utah,” Mick Thomas, director of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining said. “It’s about being able to capture every molecule of energy off of certain carbon molecules we go through.”

Thomas said it’s one of two solutions he believes Utah leaders will take a close look at. Carbfix captures carbon emissions, turning it into a liquid.

Wells like the ones in Iceland send the carbon deep underground to where it’s solidified by nature. But the challenge is that this process takes a lot of money and energy. The end result looks similar to what naturally occurring carbon rocks look like.

A sample of stored carbon. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“The closer you can get the injection site and the storage facility to the actual point source of the CO2,” Thomas said. “The less cost it is.”

That’s the kind of approach Carbfix takes, with a lot of the expense being covered by individuals and companies that want to reduce their overall footprint and offset their own emissions through buying those credits.

Carbon molecues recycled

But those carbon molecules can be recycled too.

On Wednesday, the Utah delegation heard from Carbon Recycling International that converts some of the emissions into methanol, which can be used in fuel.

“I’m thrilled,” Thomas said. “It’s very exciting. Yeah, as a geologist, very cool.”

Utah delegates speak to Carbon Recycling International. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Thomas said it’s a big deal to be able to pull a useable product and recycle the carbon rather than simply burying it.

“There’s a significant interest in Utah compared to other states that I have worked in to make this a reality,” he said.

The likely application would be to reduce coal and natural gas emissions as they continue to serve as reliable baseload sources.

“Solutions are very expensive,” said Dusty Monks, acting director for the Utah Office of Energy Development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Utah delegation explores Iceland’s example in carbon capture to reduce emissions