Leaks will not sink carbon capture and storage

Nov. 12, 2020

In a 2017 paper, Princeton researchers announced that carbon capture and storage is not prone to significant leakage or prohibitively high costs related to fixing leaks.

The researchers based their conclusions on a study that relied on simulations at hypothetical subsurface carbon dioxide storage locations. It used an integrated assessment model to evaluate both the geophysical aspects of carbon capture and storage and an economic model of the global energy market.

Carbon capture and storage is a method of capturing carbon dioxide, which is released during the burning of fossil fuels. The method involves compressing the released gas into a dense fluid and injecting it several kilometers beneath the land surface for permanent storage.

“We studied the most worst-case scenarios,” said Catherine Peters, the chair of Princeton’s department of civil and environmental engineering and co-author on the paper. “And even with the extreme worst-case scenarios, we still find that the CO2 will be reliably trapped underground when you put it there.”

The findings suggest that the fear of leakage from capture and storage is unfounded and that the method is a viable and economical way to help mitigate climate change.

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