Earth Watch: Burying CO2 to Fight Global Warming

by Rajshri on  May 26, 2008 at 2:48 PM Environmental Health
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Earth Watch: Burying CO2 to Fight Global Warming
The method to capture carbon dioxide and bury it under the ground to prevent global warming is gaining momentum and may soon be put into practice.

According to a report in Discovery News, the process, known as carbon capture and storage (CCS), has already been given the green signal by the US Department of Energy (DOE), with a funding of 126 million dollars for two large-scale carbon storage projects in California and the Midwest.

The DOE had previously announced 253.7 million dollars in funding for four others.

"The announcement of these two projects, making a total of six, each with a minimum of a million tons of CO2 injected underground, is a massive step forward," said Julio Friedmann of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

Companies have been injecting CO2 into the ground already, including in efforts to help force the last bits of oil out of oilfields, but the scale does not match what is needed to store CO2 from coal-fired plants.

"The next tier of questions include ones that really require a large, sustained injection," said Friedmann.

"These projects will help researchers understand how the Earth's crust deforms as large volumes of CO2 are pumped underground, and which sites are the best for storing CO2," he added.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is drafting regulations to address how sites for CO2 burial should be selected, managed and monitored and to address questions of who pays if something goes wrong.

"Having the regulations established is going to be helpful in moving the technology forward," said Sarah Forbes of the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.

To Friedmann and Forbes, advancing the use of CCS is critical for addressing climate change.

"You have a new coal plant in China and India being built every single day," said Forbes. "The climate change problem is so big, and you can't address it without addressing coal," he added.

Source: ANI

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Coal fired power plants will be able to biologically transform carbon dioxide (CO2) they produce into methane (CH4 - natural gas-like). Dr Craig Venter says his team should have a GMO that efficiently turns CO2 into CH4 in less than two years. Clean coal, turning the CO2 into to FUEL (rather than burying it, which is impractical because of scale).

Watch the 15 minute Dr Craig Venter interview linked on my blog at - I've watched tens of thousands of hours of video, and this is the most amazing thing I've ever seen.


Vaclav Smil, an energy expert at the University of Manitoba, has estimated that capturing and burying just 10 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted over a year from coal-fire plants at current rates would require moving volumes of compressed carbon dioxide greater than the total annual flow of oil worldwide — a massive undertaking requiring decades and trillions of dollars. "Beware of the scale," he stressed."

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