Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Cunning way of generating power and capturing carbon

CO2 is now a major headache and headlines are full of stories about how to capture and store the gas. Carbon capture is considered by UK policymakers to be the way ahead.

But a group of scientists in California have different ideas and their work is being funded by the US Department of Energy.

About a year from now, two shipping containers will be installed in a field in Cranfield, Mississippi.

They will house turbines designed to generate electricity in a way that's never been done before. If initial tests go well, the technology could lead to a new source of clean, domestic energy and a new way to fight climate change.

A team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists hopes to become the first in the world to produce electricity from the Earth's heat using CO2. They also want to permanently store some of the gas underground.

The group received $5million from the US Department of Energy earlier this summer to design and test the technology.

This is the first project intended to convert geothermally-heated CO2 into useful electricity, according to Barry Freifeld, a mechanical engineer in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division who leads the initiative.

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