"My field is carbon management high-pressure carbon dioxide chemistry," he said. "Right now, we are emitting huge levels of carbon dioxide, and we need new ideas on ways to store the waste."
Clarens, who said he has no connection with the oil and gas industry, knows some in the environmental movement oppose hydraulic fracturing because of possible risks to ground and surface waters. However, he thinks this type of extraction is inevitable in many places and it is important to preemptively develop new strategies for handling the environmental implications, especially those related to carbon dioxide.
"There are a lot of people who say we need to get away from carbon-based fuels, and that may be possible in a few decades, but right now, fossil fuels power everything," he said. "Finding ways to harvest these non-conventional fossil fuel sources without contributing to climate changes is a difficult but important challenge."
Clarens said he believes he and Tao are the first researchers to propose this strategy. He hopes this paper will contribute to a discourse on how best to responsibly develop this booming resource.
Clarens, who received his doctorate from the University of Michigan, did his undergraduate work at U.Va., receiving a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1999.
|Contact: Matt Kelly|
University of Virginia