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  1. ITV Report

Iceland's fightback against climate change turns Carbon Dioxide into rock

Seven miles outside the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, a remarkable fight back against climate change is starting to take shape.

To tackle Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere, some scientists want to suck it from the air using special filtering boxes.

These machines can take CO2 from the air and turn it into rock underground.

Bergur Sigfusson of CarbFix2 said thousands of these boxes would be needed to make an impact. Credit: ITV News

"This is a CO2 collector. Here we take in air, we blow it through a filtering unit, it absorbs the CO2 from the atmosphere," said Deputy Project Manager of CarbFix2, Bergur Sigfusson.

To make an impact, thousands of units like this would be needed.

The CO2 is trapped in a condenser. Credit: ITV News

The CO2 collectors are powered by clean carbon-free energy from the local geothermal power plant.

The power plant takes steam from boreholes in the vocanic rock and pumps it into a turbine to provide enough electricity for 45,000 homes.

That produces a number of waste gases including CO2 which is trapped into a condenser.

That trapped gas is then combined with the CO2 captured from the air and all of that transported across the facility ready to be buried in the ground.

The CO2 makes a mineral called calcite. Credit: ITV News

Carbon dioxide is then dissolved in water which is then pumped 800m down, deep into the basalt stone of Iceland's bedrock. It then forms a mineral called calcite.

Storage facility can be easily applied across the world as basalt is one of the most common types of rock on the Earth's surface.

The technology can be easily applied across the world. Credit: ITV News

"This is a safe way of storing the carbon," said geologist Sandra Osk Snaebjorndottir.

"There won't be any one silver bullet that takes care of us in terms of the climate challenge but this is definitely one of the tools that could be used in the fight against climate change."

The technology will take decades to test and scale up but systems like this are needed to stand a chance against the biggest problems humans have ever faced.