Monday, November 16, 2009

Using CO2 to Extract Geothermal Energy

Carbon dioxide generated by power plants may find a second life as a working fluid to help recover geothermal heat from kilometers underground. Such a system would not only capture the carbon dioxide and keep it out of the atmosphere, it would also be a cost-effective way to use the greenhouse gas to generate new power. Backers of this as-yet-unproven concept secured a big endorsement and much-needed cash with the U.S. Department of Energy's recent award of $338 million in federal stimulus funds for geothermal energy research. Some $16 million of the funds will be shared by nine carbon dioxide-related projects led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other national labs, Sunnyvale, CA-based combinatorial chemistry firm Symyx Technologies, and several U.S. universities. More>