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Space to Bury CO2

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

US Sees Ample Room to Bury CO2 But Costs Unknown


US: March 30, 2007



NEW YORK - The United States and Canada have enough storage capacity deep underground to bury greenhouse gas from power plants for 900 years, but the costs are not yet known, an office of the US Department of Energy said.



The two countries could store more than 3,500 billion tons of carbon dioxide, the main gas scientists link to global warming, mostly in underground saline formations, an official at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory said.

"The capacity sites are very widespread. They cover the majority of the area in the United States and a good bit of Canada," Dawn Deel, a carbon sequestration manager at NETL, said in an interview.


CO2 burial is not commercially available yet, but has emerged as one possible way to slow global warming's potentially catastrophic results including flooding, heat waves and severe storms. The gas could be captured at power plants that burn fossil fuels, including coal, the heaviest carbon dioxide emitter.


Deel led development of a new Carbon Sequestration Atlas that determined if 4,000 power plants and other stationary CO2 sources lie above possible sequestration sites. She said most of the power plants could have ample capacity directly underneath or nearby. The project did not look at costs.


Scientists say carbon capture and sequestration holds promise, at a price. Equipment to capture the gas at power plants, transport it, and bury it deep underground could add up to 20 percent to consumers' power bills, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology report said this month. It confirmed a 2005 study by scientists that advise the United Nations.


US power plants and other stationary sources released about 3.4 billion tons of CO2 in 2004 out of a total of nearly 6 billion tons, Deel said. The remainder was mostly from transportation sources.


US President George W. Bush opposes mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. The MIT study and growing numbers of companies and politicians say such caps could lead to a price on emissions that could help businesses pay for carbon burial.


Ray Kopp, a senior fellow at Washington-based nonprofit Resources for the Future, told reporters on a conference call this week that legislation on mandatory caps being considered in US Congress could help space out additional costs evenly over a number of years.


Deel said the NETL may look at carbon burial costs in the new version of its sequestration atlas in two years.


Bush's term ends in January, 2009, and leading contenders from both parties in the Presidential election favor mandatory caps on CO2 emissions.




Story by Timothy Gardner




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