The Science and the Drama of Sequestration

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Isolating liquefied carbon dioxide and pumping it into a reservoir covered by a caprock and then expecting it to stay put is like saying we can control the weather. Really.

The United States has been busy researching carbon capture and storage for some time now. In 1999, the Department of Energy established its Center for Research on Enhancing Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems and set up Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships across the country. This April, Arizona started injecting compressed CO2  in an underground saline formation. Other locations also are conducting tests, but the goal is to have the technology ready for implementation by 2025.

I am inspired and at times incredulous at the things human beings think they can achieve. We are smart; we have a space station for goodness' sake. But don't we have limits?

The part that really worries me is the groundwater. The potential contamination of this resource is unthinkable when you consider that nearly one-third of Americans rely on this source for their drinking water. Do we cure one problem and create another?

Why did we abandon Yucca Mountain, anyway?

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Aug 11, 2009