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Too Much Carbon Dioxide? Bury it

A team of MIT researchers have estimated that at least a century’s worth of carbon dioxide emissions can be feasibly stored in deep saline aquifers across the country.

Known as carbon capture and store (CCS), the approach would still require an effective means of capturing atmospheric gas. The rest occurs naturally thanks to physics.

 When liquefied carbon dioxide is dissolved in salty water, the resulting fluid is denser than either of the constituents, so it naturally sinks. It’s a slow process, but “once the carbon dioxide is dissolved, you’ve won the game,” Juanes says, because the dense, heavy mixture would almost certainly never escape back to the atmosphere.

While no silver bullet to reducing carbon emissions, CCS could provide a bandage fix until better alternative energy technologies are developed.

Credit: Michael Szulczewski, of the Juanes Research Group, MIT