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 isnt 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 were 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.
Monica Amarelo | EurekAlert!
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