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Department of Energy supports carbon sequestration research, University of Miami receives $1.7 million

MIAMI Carbon sequestration is developing into one of the nation's premiere tools in the fight against global warming. The concept is that geological reservoirs, such as depleted oil and natural gas reservoirs, can be used to store CO2, a by-product of combustion and a major greenhouse gas. CO2 would be captured at coal burning power plants, one of the largest point sources of CO2, and transported by pipeline to reservoirs where it would be pumped for long term storage.

A team from the University of Miami's (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science was among 19 entities awarded funds by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to research new methods for monitoring leakage from potential CO2 reservoirs. Led by Drs. Tim Dixon and Peter Swart, the team also includes Drs. Falk Amelung and Guoqin Lin from UM Rosenstiel School's Marine Geology and Geophysics (MGG) division and Dr. Dan Reimer from Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry.

The big challenge is to make sure the carbon stays put. That's where the UM team's expertise comes in. "We're employing state-of-the-art geophysical and geochemical techniques -- many of them developed or refined at the University of Miami -- to monitor the reservoirs and make sure the CO2 remains safely sequestered." said Principal Investigator Tim Dixon. "The tools we will be using include sophisticated satellite observations that image subtle motions of the ground surface in response to pressure changes at depth, seismic data, and state of the art geochemical sampling equipment."

The team received $1.7 million from the DOE, and expects to begin their work in October 2009, with instrument deployment beginning in 2010 at a site in the western United States, to be selected by the DOE.

"We're very proud to be helping out on this important environmental concern, and applying our combined expertise to this issue," said Dr. Peter Swart, a co-principal investigator on the project and chair of MGG. "CO2 is not only contributing to global warming, but is also implicated in ocean acidification, a looming problem for many marine organisms."


Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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