This summer, scientists began drilling deep into the earth of West Virginia. Their goal: to determine whether a spongy layer of rock 9,000 feet beneath the surface can hold a gas that causes global warming.
The project is being closely watched by the Bush administration, which is funding it, and by the power industry. Both see burying the gas, carbon dioxide, as a possible long-term solution to keeping gases from power plants out of the atmosphere.
The scientists, funded by the Energy Department, won't know until next year whether the porous rock can hold the carbon dioxide, produced by a power plant near the town of New Haven. And even if the rock can hold the gases, the costs to bury carbon dioxide today would be enormous.
But if the technology used to bury the gas becomes cheaper, the technique "may be a silver bullet for our sector," says Dale Heydlauff of American Electric Power, the company that owns the plant.
Pumping carbon dioxide into caverns, old oil wells and depleted coal seams would keep the gas from pouring into the atmosphere, where it would help raise the Earth's temperature.
Many scientists think saltwater reservoirs are the most promising place to pump the carbon dioxide. They're much bigger than oil and gas wells. And they're common in states such as Ohio, which have a lot of power plants.
The technique holds so much promise that environmentalists are interested.
"If it's proven out, it could be deployed pretty rapidly and achieve huge reductions in carbon (dioxide) going into the atmosphere," says David Hawkins, of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
But Hawkins and others say that's a big if. No one knows whether the carbon dioxide will stay underground. It might bubble through cracks in the Earth.
View: Full Article | Source: Yahoo! News
*"Dissatisfied with slowly choking the environment to death, the government decides to speed up the process by injecting pollution directly into the earth"*
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Administration eyes burying carbon dioxide
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