News / Asia

Australia Claims Carbon Storage Breakthrough

Smoke bellows out of chimney stacks at BlueScope Steel's steelworks at Port Kembla, south of Sydney, Australia, (File)
Smoke bellows out of chimney stacks at BlueScope Steel's steelworks at Port Kembla, south of Sydney, Australia, (File)

Scientists in Australia working on a project to store carbon say they can prove their technology works and is safe.  Still, critics say the trial was too small to be decisive. 

The scientists working on the carbon sponge project west of Melbourne say that after three and a half years of study, they can now prove that this type of carbon sequestration can work safely.

In March 2008, they began injecting carbon dioxide deep underground near the coastal town Warrnambool in the southern state, Victoria.  They have been pumping 65,000 tons of CO2-rich gas into a depleted natural gas reservoir, some two kilometers underground.

The team from Australia’s government-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization say there were no signs that carbon dioxide had leaked from its the sealed underground chamber.  

Research scientist Charles Jenkins says the process could have a dramatic effect on reducing global greenhouse gas pollution.

“There's a lot of these depleted gas fields that are ideally placed for that. The estimates are that after 2050 you could probably get rid of about two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that's being produced by these big sources," he stated. "So globally it's a very, very significant resource for us.”

Yet despite this optimism, critics have yet to be convinced.  They believe the process of storing carbon dioxide underground on any large scale is still too expensive and unreliable.

Arthur Williamson, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, says the Australian survey is not conclusive.

“They have managed to make it work for a short time, on a small scale, in a particular gas field,” he said.

However, proponents of this type of sequestration insist that Australia will not be able to effectively reduce its carbon emissions without the technology.

The process of storing carbon dioxide from power generation and other industrial processes underground was recognized at this month’s climate conference in the South African city, Durban, as a clean development technology.

Australian scientists believe that the capture and storage of CO2 from commercial power stations could be viable by 2020.

Australia is one of the world’s worst per capita producers of gases that many researchers blame for warming temperatures.  Farmers and conservative politicians believe that man’s use of fossil fuels is having a negligible effect on the Earth’s climate.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid