Scientists Examine Injecting Liquid Carbon Dioxide Underground

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While carbon capture and sequestration technology remains controversial, studies to delve deeper into it are ongoing in hopes of presenting one way to alleviate emission levels. A team from MIT has been studying a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technique called pressurized oxy-fuel combustion. This process converts the carbon dioxide emissions of a power plant into a pressurized liquid stream meant to be pumped underground. Team leader Ahmed Ghoniem of MIT claims that his team is the only one conducting an academic study of “pressurized combustion system for carbon dioxide capture.”

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A huge setback for this kind of technology that prevents it to be used widely is the need for energy in order to separate pure carbon dioxide from the mixture of gases emitted by a power plant. “Nobody in their right mind will jump into this and do it unless we can reduce the energy penalty and the extra cost, and only if it is mandated to reduce CO2 emissions,” Ghoniem says. But the technology under observation promises to be more efficient than other systems, with the possibility of becoming 10 to 15 percent more efficient (it’s now rated at three percent more efficient) than unpressurized CCS systems. MIT claims this could pave way for widespread acceptance of the CCS technology, although it needs to be demonstrated first to prove itself economically viable.

*Image from Wikimedia under a Creative Commons license

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