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DOE begins push to capture CO2

Wind and other forms of renewable energy alone won't be able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Department of Energy   

April 13, 1999
Web posted at: 10:30 AM EST

The U.S. Department of Energy released a 200-page "working draft" Monday on the emerging science and technology of carbon sequestration — the capture and secure storage of carbon dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels.

The report is meant as a starting point for government, industry and academia to begin setting priorities and identifying specific directions for research and development activities that could extend over the next quarter century, according to an Energy Department news release.

Sometime in late May or June, after the major players have had an opportunity to study the working draft, DOE will hold a workshop to develop a joint government-industry-academia roadmap for future carbon sequestration research and technology development.

"We are starting with a bold vision of what might be possible by 2025 — a safe, predictable and affordable way to prevent carbon dioxide from building up in the atmosphere," said Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. "These research paths could provide new options for the world to respond to climate change concerns."

"Carbon sequestration is a whole new area of energy-related research," said Richardson. Our efforts to this point have primarily been to identify the scope of possibilities. But even at this early stage, we recognize the potential of carbon sequestration to provide a fundamentally new approach for dealing with climate change."

If we continue along our current path, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global emissions of carbon dioxide could more than triple during the coming century (from 7.4 billion tons of carbon a year in 1997 to 26 billion tons a year by 2100).

Carbon sequestration techniques are important, according to DOE, because other options for reducing carbon dioxide, such as wind, solar and other renewable energy options, alone will not sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon sequestration is also low in cost, the agency said.

Research needs, according to the report, are in the areas of technologies for separating and capturing carbon dioxide from energy systems and sequestering it in the oceans, in geologic formations and in terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, vegetation, soils and crops. The report also discusses advanced options for chemically or biologically transforming carbon dioxide emissions into environmentally safe and marketable products.

The working draft was developed jointly by the DOE Office of Science and Office of Fossil Energy. They were assisted by the national laboratories, the Federal Energy Technology Center and experts from academic and industry groups.

Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved

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