Carbon study could help reduce harmful emissions

Feb 14, 2008

Earth scientists at The University of Manchester have found that carbon dioxide has been naturally stored for more than a million years in several gas fields in the Colorado Plateau and Rocky Mountains of the United States.

Researchers say lessons learned from these natural gas fields will help to find sites suitable for injecting CO2 captured from power station chimneys.

Academics have been investigating five natural CO2 gas fields from the southwest United States, as they are examples of natural CO2 storage.

Their findings are published in the latest issue of the Geochemistry Journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

In order for CO2 storage - also known as CO2 sequestration - to be considered as a viable method of reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere the public must be reassured that the CO2 pumped underground will be stored safely for a long time.

Dr Stuart Gilfillan, the University of Manchester researcher who led the project, said: "By measuring the noble gases within the Colorado carbon dioxide, we have been able to 'fingerprint' the CO2 for the first time. This has allowed us to show that the gas in all of the fields is the result of the degassing of molten magma within the Earth's crust.

"In all of these gas fields, the last known magma melting event was over eight thousand years ago. In three of the fields magma melting last occurred over a million years ago, and in one it was at least 40 million years ago.

"We already know that oil and gas have been stored safely in oil and gas fields over millions of years and this study clearly shows that the CO2 has been stored naturally and safely for a very long time in these fields.

"So, underground CO2 storage, in the correct place, should be a safe option to help us cope with emissions until we can develop cleaner energy sources."

The team hope that this study will pave the way for selection of similar safe sites for storage of CO2 captured in power plants in both the UK and abroad.

Source: University of Manchester

Explore further: A 3-D view of the Greenland Ice Sheet opens window on ice history

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Forests around the world affected by climate change

Dec 23, 2014

Around the globe, forests are found to be undergoing strong changes due to human influence already today. Degradation of woods due to man-made climate change cannot be ruled out for the future, a special ...

Laser technology aids CO2 storage capabilities

Dec 23, 2014

DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory is attracting private industry attention and winning innovation awards for harnessing the power of lasers to monitor the safe and permanent underground storage ...

Finding innovative solutions for reducing CO2 emissions

Dec 19, 2014

Today, the company Gaznat SA and EPFL signed an agreement for the creation of two new research chairs. The first one will study ways to seize carbon dioxide (CO2) at its production source and increase its value ...

Recommended for you

Geologists solve mystery of Tibetan mountains

Jan 23, 2015

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, University of Kansas geologists have unraveled one of the geologic mysteries of Tibet. The research, recently published online in Nature Geoscience, shows that i ...

Image: Greenland's Leidy Glacier

Jan 23, 2015

Located in the northwest corner of Greenland, Leidy Glacier is fed by ice from the Academy Glacier (upstream and inland). As Leidy approaches the sea, it is diverted around the tip of an island that separates ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.