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Carbon storage gets a tryout

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Michelle Nijhuis | Jan 23, 2009 12:37 PM

Interesting story in the Tri-City Herald today about a test of underground storage of carbon dioxide in Washington state. (The article doesn't say so, but this is the first North American test of CO2 storage in basalt.) Researchers are now drilling toward a rock layer about 3/4 mile below the surface, and, if the state approves, CO2 injection will follow, perhaps this spring or summer. The hope is that the greenhouse gas can be stored in the porous basalt layers abundant in the Pacific Northwest -- if all goes well, the CO2 will move into the nooks and crannies in the rock, where it will dissolve in water to form calcium carbonate, aka nice innocuous limestone. Sounds better than storing it in the atmosphere, of course. But questions about the long-term safety and general practicality of sequestration abound -- see HCN's in-depth story here.

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