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Clemson researchers receive EPA grant to study carbon emission storage

CLEMSON Clemson University researchers Ron Falta and Larry Murdoch have received an $891,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant to study the safe storage of carbon dioxide in geological formations located deep below the earth's surface.

With carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels believed to be the leading cause of global warming, geologic storage of the gas is one of the most promising alternatives for reducing emissions using current technology.

"Geologic storage of carbon dioxide is considered to be a very secure way to isolate the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for thousands of years. However, there is a slight chance that some of the carbon dioxide could start to leak from some formations," said Falta. "Our work will help to identify the geologic conditions that may lead to leakage, and we will develop techniques for minimizing the impact of leaks if they do occur."

With geologic storage, carbon dioxide is captured from coal, gas or oil-fired power plants, compressed, then injected into deep geologic formations. Suitable carbon dioxide-storage formations include depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers. These formations are confined by impermeable caprocks and they typically are thousands of feet below the ground surface.

Falta and Murdoch, professors in the department of environmental engineering and earth science, will focus on the behavior of carbon dioxide dissolved in saltwater at high pressure and methods to keep it safely away from shallow drinking water aquifers.

Under EPA STAR Grant No. R834383, the researchers will work with Stanford University scientist Sally Benson, director of Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project.


Contact: Susan Polowczuk
Clemson University

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