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This could be a safer way to achieve carbon sequestration


The International Energy Agency says that carbon capture and storage (CCS), a form of carbon sequestration, will be an important component in reducing the amount of CO2 emitted by industry.  Under CCS the CO2 is captured from power plant and industry emissions and compressed before being stored deep underground.  Typical locations proposed are former oil and gas fields and coal mines or deep saline aquifers.  Possible drawbacks include the increased seismic activity this might bring about, or the unintended accidental release of the carefully stored CO2 into the atmosphere.  Now a new method has been suggested.

“A study published this month in Geophysical Research Letters suggests that storing carbon dioxide underground in a type of volcanic rock called reactive mafic rock could potentially present little seismic risk, because the surface of mafic rock reacts with carbon dioxide to form a solid mineral.”

Mafic rock is the most common rock by volume on the planet, in large part because one type of it, basalt, makes up the seafloor.  So we now have the possibility of turning the surplus CO2 into inert rocks that pose no risk of increased seismic activity and no threat of sudden release of stored CO2.  The research is at an early stage, and the engineering that could achieve this result has yet to be developed, but it looks like a promising idea.


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