Carnegie Mellon to unveil new sequestration plan

January 09, 2009

PITTSBURGH-- Carnegie Mellon University's M. Granger Morgan will unveil a novel "two-stage'' approach for developing new energy technologies that can help society reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and create a cleaner economy during a policy briefing January 9 at 1 p.m. at 1200 New York Ave. N.W. in Washington, D.C.

Morgan, who heads a team of investigators from Carnegie Mellon, the University of Minnesota, The Vermont Law School and the Washington, D.C.-based energy law firm Van Ness Feldman, will discuss creation of a new regulatory structure for the safe and economical capture, transport and deep geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the United States.

With a $1.85 million grant from the New York-based Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), Morgan and his colleagues in the "CCSReg Project'' argue that if the U.S. is going to put large quantities of CO2 underground in a process called carbon sequestration; the process must be efficient, safe and effective.

"Part of our two-stage process involves creation of an independent Federal Carbon Sequestration Commission, with a chair appointed by new president-elect Obama and 15 expert members from a wide range of public and private stakeholders," said Morgan, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Engineering and Public Policy. This commission should carefully study experience with early sequestration projects and make recommendations for the proper form future regulations should take.

In addition to a commission, the 150-page report argues that legal questions about the right to inject CO2 into suitable rock formations over half a mile deep below the surface, must be resolved - perhaps through Federal legislation. The report recommends developing regulations for the creation of a widespread commercial-scale carbon sequestration operation in the United States.

"This report is designed to get governments and scientists excited about cutting carbon emissions without disrupting energy supplies,'' said Morgan. Today, the U.S. makes roughly half its electricity from coal.

"If we are going to save coral reefs, many national parks and all the world's other vulnerable ecosystems, we have got to cut CO2 emissions by roughly 80 percent,'' Morgan said. He explains that there is no practical way to do that unless deep geological sequestration of CO2 is part of a portfolio of low carbon solutions that also includes improved efficiency in wind and nuclear energy. Copies of the new report can be obtained on line at www.CCSReg.org.

The grant to Carnegie Mellon is part of a $100 million Climate Change Initiative created by the DDCF to develop new energy technologies which in turn will create new infrastructures and boost jobs in a sluggish global economy.
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About Carnegie Mellon: Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mix pf programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business and public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduates and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A small student to faculty ratio provides opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among leading research universities for the world-renown programs in its College of Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia and Europe. For more, see www.cmu.edu.

Carnegie Mellon University

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