An international team of scientists including Simon Fraser University groundwater special Dirk Kirske has proven that capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground can be a safe and effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions over thousands, even millions of years.
Kirske was one of over 20 scientists who participated in the $40-million Otway Project in Australia, which tracked how carbon dioxide behaved when it was pumped into a depleted natural gas reservoir two kilometres beneath the earth's surface. The scientists applied a broad range of monitoring strategies.
"Setting up this experiment we were able to test our ability to understand residual gas saturation, which is an important trapping mechanism," Kirske said in an interview.
He said no leakage was detected and the experimental results matched the scientific models.
"We can verify what the CO2 is doing," he said, adding that scientists are now confident that they can say what will happen over a time scale of thousands or even millions of years.