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Stanford scientist discusses the challenges and opportunities of carbon sequestration
Date:20 Feb 2012
When the Environmental Protection Agency issued its first comprehensive report on major greenhouse gas emitters last month, power plants topped the list, accounting for more than 70 percent of industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States. Many climate experts have urged power plants and other industries to capture CO2 before it gets into the atmosphere and sequester it deep underground – a technique known as carbon capture and storage. This promising technology could prevent the release of billions of tons of greenhouse gas each year, and thus slow the rate of global warming. So why hasn't carbon capture and storage been adopted worldwide? "Two major challenges stand in the way of carbon sequestration reaching its full potential," said Sally Benson, professor (research) of energy resources engineering at Stanford University. "One is the high cost of capturing CO2. The other is an overall lack of confidence in the capacity, safety and permanence of sequestration in deep geological formations."