What is Carbon Sequestration
What is Carbon Sequestration?
Carbon Sequestration is capturing and securely storing carbon dioxide emitted from
the global energy system.
Types of Sequestration:
There are number of technologies under investigation for sequestering carbon from
the atmosphere. These can be discussed under three main categories:
- Ocean Sequestration: Carbon stored in oceans through direct injection
- Geologic Sequestration: Natural pore spaces in geologic formations serve
as reservoirs for long-term carbon dioxide storage.
- Terrestrial Sequestration: A large amount of carbon is stored in soils
and vegetation, which are our natural carbon sinks. Increasing carbon fixation
through photosynthesis, slowing down or reducing decomposition of organic matter,
and changing land use practices can enhance carbon uptake in these natural sinks.
Geologic Sequestration is thought to have the largest potential for near-term
application. The MIDCARB Consortium and this web site are dedicated to providing
information on the potential for geologic sequestration in the heartland of America.
Geologic Sequestration Trapping Mechanisms
- Hydrodynamic Trapping: Carbon
dioxide can be trapped as a gas under low-permeability cap rock (much like natural
gas is stored in gas reservoirs).
- Solubility Trapping: Carbon
dioxide can be dissolved into a liquid, such as water or oil.
- Mineral Carbonation: Carbon
dioxide can react with the minerals, fluids, and organic matter in a geologic
formation to form stable compounds/minerals; largely calcium, iron, and magnesium
While research continues on mineral carbonation,
early results indicate reaction times to be too slow for this technology to have
near-term widespread applicability. Carbon dioxide can be effectively stored in
the earth's subsurface by hydrodynamic trapping and solubility trapping - usually
a combination of the two is most effective.