August 7, 2007
We often read of reducing carbon emissions but another way to minimize carbon emissions is to bury them underground. Here is a fascinating article on an experiment to bury carbon in Ketzin, Germany. How is it done you wonder? In this case, an 800 meter-deep hole is filled with porous rock. The rock is currently filled with water. The carbon dioxide is pressed into the hole and the small holes in the rock absorb the carbon dioxide as the water is pressed out.
The experiment is named aptly CO2Sink and it marks an important experiment in seeing how successful burying carbon dioxide inland can be.
Shell, Vattenfall, E.ON, Statoil and RWE are contributing money and expertise to the project, which is overseen by the National Research Center for Geosciences in Germany. The success of this project would be good news as it helps offset the negative environmental impact of increasing coal plants in Europe and elsewhere.
Are there risks? Yes. In 1986, about 1,800 people were suffocated at Lake Nyos, Cameroon, when a massive cloud of carbon dioxide escaped from the formerly volcanic site. Environmentalists have warned of similar dangers if leakages occur and gas settles in dips and valleys, where people live.
Experts believe the carbon will remain below ground for years but could eventually surface.
This experiment is an important one and shows yet another way in which humans can reduce their carbon footprint. Hopefully it will be successful.
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