Innovation That Matters

44.01 speeds up the process of mineralisation | Photo source The Earthshot Prize

Storing carbon dioxide in rocks

Springwise Earthshot

A startup is permanently storing carbon dioxide deep underground

Spotted: Where can we safely store the excess carbon dioxide released by humans? The question is of the utmost importance as we attempt to tackle the climate crisis.

Oceans and rainforests are important carbon sinks, but they can only capture around half of the atmospheric CO2 that needs to be removed if we are to limit warming to just two degrees Celsius. As for the rest, we must avoid using fossil fuels or remove CO2 through techniques like Direct Air Capture and Storage.

The storage side of this equation is just as important as the capture. If we turn to Direct Air Capture, we must store the captured carbon in a way that is safe and, above all, permanent. For carbon storage startup 44.01, the solution for carbon storage is a rock called peridotite.

The startup’s home country of Oman is rich with peridotite formations, and these react with carbon dioxide, mineralising into serpentine and calcite. This process stores carbon on a permanent basis. To speed things along, 44.01 pumps water infused with CO2 into seams of peridotite deep underground. Here the immense heat and pressure turbocharges the rate at which the carbon is mineralised.

44.01 is focused on carbon storage and does not capture CO2 itself. Instead, it partners with the world’s leading direct air capture companies.

Other carbon storage innovations spotted by Springwise include giant algae-filled ponds, a plan for storing carbon on the ocean floor, and a startup that uses microbes to boost carbon sequestration.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead


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