UCL News


UCL in the News: Fake plastic trees

3 December 2007

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) believe that CO2 capture and storage could contribute to mitigating climate change.

Carbon is naturally stored in the oceans and in trees, but scientists and governments are turning their attentions to geological storage, which range from depleted oil and gas wells to coal seams and saline aquifers (underground saltwater deposits). …

But even oil giant Shell concede on their website that: "questions remain about whether CO2 stored underground could eventually leak out."

Their view is echoed by Professor Stefaan Simons, director of the UCL Center for CO2 Technology.

"I have reservations about the geological storage of carbon dioxide," Professor Simons told CNN. "Is it going to stay down there? And what problems are we storing for future generations?

"Once you've drilled into a chamber you have compromised it. Presumably there are cracks around the hole. I'd be keen to see more work done on the long term complications of CO2 storage."

Professor Simons heads up a UCL team dedicated to developing technologies for the large scale reduction, removal and sequestration of carbon dioxide. His current focus is on converting flue gas CO2 into carbonates.

"Geological storage is an obvious route to take if you want to carry on as normal," he said. "But it is hiding the issue of reducing emissions and says that we can carry on emitting because it can be stored underground." …

"Quite frankly, we're going to have to carry on reducing emissions," he said. "And the big issue is transport. It is a problem for society to grapple with because there isn't really an alternative to fossil fuels."

Matthew Knight, CNN