QLE.20.005 – Cold carbonate mineral-trapping of greenhouse gases

Route: Quality of the living environment

Cluster question: 009 How can we make better use of the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles?

Urgent measures are needed to counter catastrophic climate change as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve the ‘1.5 degree’ goal as agreed in the Paris Agreement, 190 billion tons of CO2 need to be captured and stored over the next 30 years. While there are numerous strategies and applications to capture CO2, options for permanently storing greenhouse gases (GHGs) are few. The ColdCarb consortium will investigate abiogenic and biogenic trapping in carbonate minerals associated with the release of hydrocarbons from the sea floor. The close interaction between GHGs, subsurface geochemical cycling, and the functioning and evolution of chemosynthetic micro-organisms is what ultimately controls fluxes to the water column and atmosphere. The mineral Ikaite, a hexahydrated calcium carbonate that forms within the sulfate-methane transition zone under low temperatures (<5 degrees C) both in the Arctic and Antarctic, has not been explored as a potential trapping mineral. Ikaite can transform rapidly into calcite, producing a highly porous replacement. Such calcite pseudomorphs, known as glendonites, have been preserved in large quantaties in the rock record throughout Earth history. Preliminary investigations of glendonites shows that they store hydrocarbons for hundreds of millions of years and that their formation is likely driven by microbial consortia. Moreover, the formation of ikaite can be simulated in laboratory settings. Specifically ColdCarb will focus on (i) the natural formation of ikaite and other methane-derived authigenic carbonates (MDACs) and chemosynthetic carbonates, (ii) use information from field-based studies to perform lab-based experiments into the formation of ikaite and other methane-derived carbonates, (iii) provide estimates and feasibility studies for upscaling carbonate mineral production for GHG storage.


(geo)microbiology, Arctic, carbon capture and storage, deep biosphere, geochemistry, greenhouse gases, marine biology, methane, Minerals

Other organisations

Deltares, NIOZ, Shell, Universiteit Twente (UT)


Organisation Utrecht University (UU)
Name Dr. B. (Bas) van de Schootbrugge
E-mail B.vanderSchootbrugge@uu.nl
Website https://www.uu.nl/staff/bvandeschootbrugge