Sunday 17 December 2017

Burying carbon dioxide 'raises earthquake risk'

Jim Efstathiou Jr

Burying carbon dioxide in the ground, which has been considered a promising way to combat climate change, may increase the risk of earthquakes, according to a new report.

The process, in which liquified carbon dioxide is stored in caverns, "may have the potential for causing significant induced seismicity", the US National Research Council said yesterday.

Injecting waste water underground from natural-gas fracking may also trigger earthquakes, while using hydraulic fracturing to get trapped gas doesn't pose a "high risk", the report found.

Burying carbon may pose a higher risk of quakes than waste water disposal because it involves continuous injection of liquified gas at high pressure, according to the report.

"Projects that inject or extract large net volumes of fluids over long periods of time may have potential for larger induced seismic events," according to the report, which added: "Insufficient information exists to understand this potential."

The International Energy Agency said in a June 11 report that carbon capture was "the only technology on the horizon today that would allow industrial sectors (such as iron and steel, cement and natural gas processing) to meet deep emissions-reduction goals".

Irish Independent

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