Tuesday, June 12, 2018

World Can ‘Safely’ Store Billions of Tonnes of CO2 Underground

Unit 3 at the Boundary Dam coal–fired power station in Saskatchewan, Canada, completed a refurbishment program in October 2014 that included retrofitting CO2 capture facilities with a capture capacity of approximately 1 Mtpa of CO2. The majority of the captured CO2 is transported via pipeline and used for enhanced oil recovery at the Weyburn Oil Unit, also in Saskatchewan. A portion of the captured CO2 is transported via pipeline to the nearby Aquistore Project for dedicated geological storage. (Image Credit: SaskPower CCS) Click to Enlarge.
Storing billions of tonnes of CO2 underground would be a “safe and effective” way to help limit the effects of climate change, a new study says.

The research suggests that large amounts of CO2 could be stored under the ground or sea with only a small risk of surface leakage in the following 10,000 years.  However, if CO2 storage is poorly managed, higher amounts of leakage can be expected.

The findings help dispel common “misconceptions” about the dangers associated with CO2 storage, a scientist not involved in the study tells Carbon Brief.

Digging a hole
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a process whereby CO2 is “captured” from the air and then transported to a storage site – which could be, for example, a depleted oil or gas field or a deep rock reservoir beneath the sea.

Though the technology is currently restricted to a few small pilot projects, many view its large-scale development as an essential step to limiting the effects of future climate change.

In its most recent assessment report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that avoiding dangerous climate change would cost twice as much without CCS.

One barrier to the development of CCS is the costs associated with directly capturing CO2 from the atmosphere.  Another barrier is the fear that, once underground, stored CO2 could leak out into the atmosphere.

It is this second barrier that is addressed by the new research, which is published in Nature Communications.

Read more at World Can ‘Safely’ Store Billions of Tonnes of CO2 Underground

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