Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Next month the United States Department of Energy will release a study finding that China contains huge underground repositories that could be used to store 100 years of carbon emissions. As I write in The New York Times on Thursday:
China has vast underground repositories that could store more than a century’s worth of carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities, according to a report to be released by the United States Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
The study, conducted with scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, found that the geologic formations are in close to a large percentage of the country’s power plants.
That could permit “the continued use of cheap, domestic coal within China while supporting CO2 emissions reductions via the capture and geologic storage of the associated CO2,” according to an eight-page summary of the study.
The full report will be released in November.
“A lot of the policy dialogue and technical discussions have this really sharp dichotomy — either you use coal and bad things happen to the environment, or you forgo coal and bad things happen to the economy,” James Dooley, a scientist at the laboratory and an author of the report, said in an interview. “We’re trying to say maybe there’s a third way here.”
Such technology, which remains untried on a commercial scale, comes with high costs, because capturing and storing carbon emissions consumes significant amounts of energy and water. The potential environmental impact of putting billions of tons of carbon dioxide underground also remains unknown.
You can read the rest of the story here.