Capturing CO2 and injecting it into the ground could cause earthquakes?
A proposed method of cutting harmful carbon emissions in the atmosphere by storing them underground risks causing earthquakes and is unlikely to succeed, a US study said Monday.
The warning came in a Perspective article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, just days after another independent US study warned that carbon capture and storage (CCS) risked causing earthquakes.
CCS is currently considered a "viable strategy" by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for pollution control from coal-based electrical power generation and other industrial sources of carbon dioxide, said the PNAS study.
But while no large-scale projects are yet under way, the huge volume of fluid that would need to be stored below ground for long periods of time make the notion unrealistic, argued the study by experts at Stanford University in California.
"There is a high probability that earthquakes will be triggered by injection of large volumes of CO2 into the brittle rocks commonly found in continental interiors," said the article by Mark Zobacka and Steven Gorelick, professors in the departments of Geophysics and Environmental Earth System Science.