27 Nov 2007 03:11:46
Burying carbon in the earth could help fight climate change
Storing carbon dioxide underground could provide a safe and long-lasting solution to reducing the amount of the gas entering the earth's atmosphere from sources such as power stations, according to a new report.
Scientists from the University of Leeds have discovered that porous sandstone in drained oilfields could provide a safe reservoir for carbon dioxide, preventing it escaping back to the surface.
Previously experts had thought the reaction between carbon dioxide and minerals underground would take place too slowly to prevent the gas from slowly seeping up through rocks.
"If CO2 is injected underground we hope that it will react with the water and minerals there in order to be stabilized. That way it spreads into its local environment rather than remaining as a giant gas bubble which might ultimately seep to the surface," said Professor Bruce Yardley, from the university's school of health and environment.
"It had been thought that reaction might take place over hundreds or thousands of years, but theres a clear implication in this study that if we inject carbon dioxide into rocks, these reactions will happen quite quickly making it far less likely to escape
According to government figures, the UK produced 554 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2005, 155 million tonnes of which was produced by industry.