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U.S. to Sequestrate and Store Carbon Dioxide

Posted June. 18, 2001 08:10,   


U.S.’ New York Times reported on 17th that a new plan to store carbon dioxide, one of representative `greenhouse gases`, in an underground depleted oil reservoir or in the aquifer of deep sea.

The New York Times said that an experiment, in which 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide emitted from a natural gas plant in North Dakota is pumped and carried daily into a mile below underground depleted oil reservoir located in Saskatchewan, Canada, 320 km away from the plant, is in progress.

Scientists expect that if they store the carbon dioxide into an underground space in which oil and natural gas were originally buried for millions of years, it can remain there for, at least, thousands years without the risk to be exposed to the earth’s atmosphere.

To prevent carbon dioxide emission, researchers have focused on developing an alternative energy, such as nuclear and solar power, and to reduce emission by using more energy-efficient products.

The New York Times detailed, ``by adopting the method, U.S. government can cut down the harmful gas emission enabling the construction of power plants that burn fossil fuels available. Recently, President George W. Bush had mentioned that ``we all believe technology offers great promise to significantly reduce emissions, especially carbon capture, storage and sequestration technologies``.

Although this method is technologically reasonable now, it is not economical in terms of the costs. U.S. Department of Energy has set 2.75 dollars per ton as a reasonable cost, but currently, it is 15 ~ 20 times more expensive that amount. Scientists forecast that after 10 years, a more efficient cost-cutting method will be developed.

Environmental activists are opposing the method arguing that to massively store carbon dioxide in an oil reservoir or underground beneath the deep ocean can influence the neighboring ecosystem. In 1986, there was an accident in which enriched carbon dioxide in a lake in Cameroon suddenly sprang up to the surface and suffocated 1,700 people.

Han Ki-Heung eligius@donga.com