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Issue
Nine

Is carbon storage safe?

It would be impossible to store thousands of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in conventional tanks, but natural containers do exist – for example, old oil and gas fields.   One recent study estimated that the UK has the capacity to store about 5.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in depleted oil fields and about three times as much in gas fields –  enough for about 40 years of the UK's total emissions. …


It would be impossible to store thousands of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in conventional tanks, but natural containers do exist – for example, old oil and gas fields.   One recent study estimated that the UK has the capacity to store about 5.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in depleted oil fields and about three times as much in gas fields –  enough for about 40 years of the UK's total emissions.

The carbon dioxide would be transported via pipelines then pumped into oil fields several kilometres under the surface.  This would not only get rid of the unwanted gas but would also help to increase the amount of oil extracted, from about 45 to 60 per cent of the total available resource.  This approach could even lead to “zero carbon” energy by storing one unit of carbon dioxide for every single unit that's extracted. 

Porous rocks – or “saline aquifiers” – could store an estimated 700 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.  “Our porous rocks are another huge asset,” says Haszeldine, “and offer hundreds of years of storage capacity.  Carbon dioxide has been naturally stored in rocks for 50-60 million years, so it must be safe...”

 

 

 

"Is carbon storage safe?". Science Scotland (Issue Nine)
Printed from http://www.sciencescotland.org/feature.php?id=61 on 24/04/17 07:57:22 PM

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