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Putting CO2 to Work-Turning Environmental Liability into Money Making Commodity

Date: 04/11/2011

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location: 230 Ruttan Hall

Cost: Free


Rescheduled Environmental and Resource Economics Seminar:

Date:  Monday, April 11
Time:  12:00 noon to 1:30 pm
Location:  230 Ruttan Hall
Speaker:  Martin Saar, Department of Geology & Geophysics, UofM
Title:  Puttting CO2 to Work - Turning an Environmental Liability into a Commodity that Makes Money
Geothermal energy offers clean, consistent, reliable electric power with no need for grid-scale energy storage, unlike most renewable power alternatives. Here, I discuss a new method with the potential to permit expansion of geothermal energy utilization while supporting rapid implementation through the use of existing technologies: Combining geologic CO2 sequestration with geothermal energy capture.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration in deep saline aquifers and exhausted oil and natural gas fields has been widely considered as a means for reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere as a counter-measure to global warming. However, rather than treating CO2 merely as a waste fluid in need of permanent disposal, I propose that it could simultaneously be used as a working fluid in geothermal energy capture, as its thermodynamic and fluid mechanical properties suggest it transfers geothermal heat more efficiently than water. Therefore, using CO2 as the subsurface working fluid in geothermal power systems appears to permit utilization of lower temperature geologic formations than those that are currently deemed economically viable. Hence, CO2-based geothermal systems may lead to more widespread utilization of geothermal energy. In addition, the proposed system reduces CO2 emissions from electricity production through both geologic CO2 sequestration and displacement of hydrocarbon fuels via use of renewable geothermal energy. This results in a CO2-sequestering geothermal power plant with a negative carbon footprint and has significant economic implications with respect to revenue from electricity and potentially carbon off-set sales. Furthermore, geothermal power plants are quite scalable and can provide both on-demand peak as well as base-load power.



  • Name: Elaine Reber
  • E-mail: ereber@umn.edu
  • Sponsored by: College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact Elaine Reber, Department of Applied Economics, ereber@umn.edu, 612-625-8713.

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