From: Stanford University
Published March 2, 2017 03:24 PM

Transforming the carbon economy: U.S. Energy Dept. task force recommends research

Most strategies to combat climate change concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by substituting non-carbon energy sources for fossil fuels, but a task force commissioned in June 2016 by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz proposed a framework in December 2016 for evaluating research and development on two additional strategies: recycling carbon dioxide and removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These strategies were developed under a single framework with the goal to produce an overall emissions reduction for the Earth of at least one billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.

 Task force members said that these approaches would complement carbon-free approaches based on electrification, including wind and solar energy, by fostering low-carbon strategies that retain liquid and gaseous fuels for distributive uses of energy in transport, buildings, and industry. These strategies could also enable overall net carbon removal from the atmosphere, if at some future time the world desires to reduce the global concentration of carbon dioxide. The task force considered only technologies that have the potential to achieve reductions on the scale of one billion metric tons of CO2 per year, which represents about 2.5 percent of annual global emissions (about 40 billion metric tons today).

Arun Majumdar, a Stanford University professor who chaired the task force of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, said that research avenues at such a large scale could potentially include utilizing agricultural crops to store more carbon in the soil, re-using carbon dioxide to form plastics and fuels, and storing carbon dioxide in massive underground reservoirs while producing some fuels.

"We are excited to have been able to provide the first steps toward a coherent strategy of research opportunities," Majumdar said. "The range of options that are ripe for research is truly impressive."

Read more at Stanford University

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