Berkeley Researchers Say Carbon Pollution Can Be Turned Into Energy

by , 08/09/11

CCS, carbon capture and storage, geothermal energy, renewable energy, lawrence berkeley laboratory, supercritical carbon dioxide, CO2, climate change, energy

It’s a beautiful thing when innovators take two problems and turn them into one solution. That’s the goal of a team of scientists out of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who believe they can sequester carbon dioxide pollution while simultaneously using it to generate renewable energy. The project, which recently received a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy, would inject carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere deep into the earth, where the temperature is 125 degrees Celsius. The gas would become “supercritical” at this temperature, taking on some liquid properties. It would then be pulled up and fed into a turbine that converts heat into electricity.

CCS, carbon capture and storage, geothermal energy, renewable energy, lawrence berkeley laboratory, supercritical carbon dioxide, CO2, climate change, energy

The CO2 in the system is reused; however, in each cycle some of the gas would be captured within the earth’s crust — which is precisely the idea.

The project’s raison d’etre is two-fold: First, by producing energy it recuperates some of the daunting costs of storing carbon underground to alleviate climate change. Second, it could offer an improvement over using water to capture the earth’s heat for energy. Water is a life-giving substance, whereas carbon is at this point a life-threatening pollutant; yet some of each is lost in each cycle of power production. As an added bonus, some laboratory studies suggest that supercritical CO2 may be a better medium to translate the earth’s heat into electricity.

But concrete results are a long way off: The first step is designing a turbine that can handle the unusual material — something the government researchers will look to Ohio’s Echogen Power Systems to do.

+ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Via PhysOrg

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  1. isiah tadeo November 26, 2011 at 3:47 am

    But could the pollution caused by using pollution to create energy create a warp in the time space continuum and send us all back to 1985?

    I mean, I’m not saying that is a bad thing, I just want to get the right haircut if that is when/where we are going…..

  2. Rogier August 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Nice technology invention. And how is CO2 harvested? I mean, what technology is used to have CO2 filtered from all the other gases (such as N2 and O2) in order to enter 100% into the earths depth?

  3. konsyltacii August 12, 2011 at 2:44 am


    If you compare the emissions from volcanic eruptions and emissions from the operation of industry, it will be understood that the main problem – not CO2. In addition, not only CO2 affects the environment and only a comprehensive approach can solve the problem of interaction between humans and the environment, of access to energy without harming the environment.

    A relatively energy sources – there are more easy to use and more affordable projects of clean energy.


    Если сравнить выбросы в атмосферу от извержения вулкана и выбросы от работы промышленности, то можно понять, что главная проблема – не CO2. Кроме того, не только CO2 влияет на окружающую среду и только комплексный подход может решить проблемы взаимодействия человека и окружающей среды, доступа к источникам энергии без вреда окружающей среде.

    А относительно источников энергии – есть более простые в применении и более недорогие проекты производства экологически чистой энергии.

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