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Volume 19 Issue 11 (November 2009)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 36-37 | Full Text | PDF (144KB)


Facing major challenges in carbon capture and sequestration

Roel Snieder1,*, Terry Young1

1 Dept. of Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, Colorado 80401, USA

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Anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases, notably CO2, contributes significantly to global warming (IPCC, 2007). Economic growth in developing countries, increasing reliance on non-conventional oil, and use of coal as a power source are all leading to increased emissions of CO2 (Kerr, 2008). Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is often viewed as a panacea. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made $3.4 billion available for fossil fuel research, a significant fraction for CCS (Charles, 2009), and DOE supports a number of trial projects for CO2 sequestration (Litynski et al., 2008). Injecting CO2 in the subsurface has an out-of-sight, out-of-mind appeal because injecting the waste makes the problem “go away.” This approach is, however, not without its drawbacks, and research needs to focus on making CCS effective both technically and economically on the scale needed to mitigate anthropogenic contributions to global warming. In order to assess this issue, it is essential to look at the numbers involved in CCS.

Manuscript received 21 July 2009; accepted 10 August 2009.

doi: 10.1130/GSATG68GW.1