Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and injecting it deep below the Earth’s surface, where it would permanently solidify into rock. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that current carbon-sequestration technologies may eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.
While such technologies may successfully remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, researchers in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT have found that once injected into the ground, less carbon dioxide is converted to rock than previously imagined.
The team studied the chemical reactions between carbon dioxide and its surroundings once the gas is injected into the Earth — finding that as carbon dioxide works its way underground, only a small fraction of the gas turns to rock. The remainder of the gas stays in a more tenuous form.