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Global Warming Solution?: Scientists Want To Store Carbon Dioxide Underground

Jul 05, 2013 10:58 AM EDT by Jessica Passananti

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A recent geological report suggests a promising way to cut down on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: to inject it and store it in rocks underground.

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a detailed assessment and found 36 regions across the country that have proper subterranean conditions to store between 2,400 to 3,7-- metric tons of carbon dioxide underground. 

"This is just one tool in a range of options that we have, but it's an important one to give us additional time to transition from fossil fuels to nonfossil fuel energy," Mordick told LiveScience.

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The process, called geologic carbon sequestration, would lessen the amount of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. The study identified the largest storage potential in the Coastal Plains region, which encompasses the Gulf Coast. 

The geologic carbon sequestration technique works like this: exhaust gas would be captured from power plants before they are released into the atmosphere, which would separate the carbon dioxide from the rest of the emissions. The carbon dioxide is cooled and compressed into a liquidy-gas state. The new state would allow scientists to put the gas under ground.

"The idea is that the carbon dioxide will be trapped there pretty much indefinitely," Mordick said. "Things like oil, gas and brine are trapped in the subsurface for millions of years, so basic geologic principles tell us this is possible. In some ways, it's mimicking natural geologic processes." 

According to Yahoo News, the carbon dioxide would need to be injected deep underground. Leaks, however, are a huge concern surrounding the process. Researchers and scientists are assessing all possible risks and ways in which the carbon dioxide could escape. 

 

 

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