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VA Firm To Pump CO2 Into Ground

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

One proposed way to fight global warming is to bury CO2 underground, keeping it out of the atmosphere. A firm in Arlington has just won a grant to try that out in what's known as the Marcellus Shale formation, possibly in Pennsylvania and Western Virgina.

If you squeeze carbon dioxide enough, it becomes a liquid. If you then store it a mile underground, the pressure will keep it that way and it'll form minerals.

The Department of Energy just gave $1.3 million to Arlington Firm Advanced Research International to study this. Dr James Markowsky is Assistant Secretary.

"They're going to basically be looking at storage capacity and 'injectivity,' the rate at which you inject the CO2 at various eastern gas shale formations," says Markowsky.

So, how much CO2 can the ground hold, and how will it travel once it's down there?

"The challenge is really to make sure we have a safe and reliable way of geological storage," he says.

About a million tons of CO2 will be pumped into shale at at least 5,000 feet below the surface.

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