Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can carbon sequestration solve global warming?

17.02.2003


The U.S. Government is spending millions of dollars to research the feasibility of stuffing carbon dioxide into coal seams and fields of briny water deep beneath the Earth. But, a scientist at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting argues that the government isn’t thinking big enough in its plans to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.



Dissatisfied with the long-term potential of most current technologies for carbon sequestration, Klaus Lackner, Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, has designs for new power plants that would capture carbon dioxide before it leaves the facility, as well as for "synthetic trees" that would pluck carbon from the air, mix it with magnesium silicate, and store the carbon in the "rocks" that would result from the chemical interaction between the elements.

"Injecting carbon underground is a short-term solution," Lackner said. "The oil industry has done this with 20 million tons a year in West Texas, but that is not the scale we’re talking about here. We need to find a way to put away 20 billion tons." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions could more than triple over the next 100 years, from 7.4 billion tons of carbon per year in 1997 to approximately 20 billion tons per year by 2100. Lackner argued that large-scale carbon sequestration would allow the continued use of carbon-based fuels during the time needed to develop alternative sources of energy.


Encouraged by preliminary reports indicating the feasibility of carbon sequestration in coal seams and deep saline reservoirs, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced it will fund public-private ventures to explore the capture of carbon, but researchers say there are considerable barriers to be overcome before the technology can be widely implemented. Injecting carbon into coal seams, for example, would force millions of gallons of salty water to the Earth’s surface, substantially greater amounts than the briny water produced during recovery of natural gas.

"This is not a trivial problem," said Curt White, Carbon Sequestration Science Focus Area Leader at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA, who will report on new findings regarding the physical and chemical phenomena that take place when carbon dioxide is injected into coal seams, and discuss the projected storage capacity of coal seams.

White will detail some of the technological obstacles to performing sequestration of carbon dioxide in deep unmineable coal beds, as well as parallel efforts to identify and recover the methane gas that is found in some of those sites. The valuable gas offers hope that the cost of capturing carbon can be covered.

Water disposal is a challenge because high concentrations of salts and other dissolved solids can be toxic to some organisms, White said. "Development of technologies to properly dispose of huge amounts of produced water is a problem area that needs further research." White and his colleagues are studying surveys conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines to determine which coal seams in the United States might contain the most methane. The researchers are also exploring the long-term impact of pumping carbon into coal seams and brine fields.

"We now have a much better understanding of what we think is going to happen," White said. "I think that with the proper research and the right resources, the problem areas can be overcome."

The capture of carbon will not become routine, however, until steps are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Howard Herzog, principal research engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.

"Unless the economic incentives are in place, the technology is not going to go anywhere," said Herzog, who studies the economics of carbon sequestration. "Right now, the price of emitting carbons is almost free. If it goes up to about $100 per ton of carbon produced, you’d begin to see some significant scale of capture and storage."


Monica Amarelo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aaas.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>