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Strokkur in Iceland’s Haukadalur valley is one of the world’s most active geysers, erupting like clockwork every 10 minutes or so, sending plumes of steaming hot water up to 65 feet into the air. Like other geysers, Strokkur is propelled by underground magma, an intense heat source close to the Earth’s surface.
All over Iceland, steam rises up from underground. The nation’s geothermal plants tap into this source to heat water and homes. Tourists who have been to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon pools bathe and luxuriate in the runoff water from a nearby geothermal plant.
But it’s what’s being done at the sleekly modern Hellisheiði geothermal plant, sitting on a bleak and black volcanic plain half an hour outside of the capital Reykjavík, that’s creating buzz among scientists around the globe.
A team of young researchers there is capturing carbon dioxide emissions from the plant and infusing it into basalt rock that lines these volcanic plains.
Unlike previous capture and injection attempts, these emissions don’t leak out. Instead, it becomes a non-polluting organic part of the underground landscape.