One way to take the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, out of the air is to concentrate and store it underground. Scientific American explains how one company plans to do it.
This is a canister of compressed carbon dioxide. Globally, we pump out about 85 trillion of these every year. And all that gas contributes to global warming.
In Mississippi Southern Company has built the nation’s first carbon-capture plant where they plan to trap carbon dioxide deep underground. We’re going to show you how they plan to do it.
This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m David Biello. Got a minute?
Oil is the remains of algae that died millions of years ago and drifted to the bottom of the ocean where it percolated into sandstone that then got covered by mud, turned to stone, trapping the oil.
This sponge represents sandstone. This jar? An oil deposit, miles underground.
At that depth, CO2 is a liquid—like this water.
This straw represents a well drilled into an oil-rich sandstone. To put the liquid carbon dioxide into the sandstone, you have to push the oil out.
Voilà! A gusher!
The petroleum companies will inject the carbon dioxide, and collect the oil.
When they’re done the oil company will cap the well, trapping the CO2 miles underground, just like the oil before it.
Thanks for the minute! For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m David Biello.
That was a lot more of a gusher than we expected! Really pushed all the oil out, though.
Presenter/Writer: David Biello
Producer/Writer: Eliene Augenbraun
Videographers; Eliene Augenbraun, Benjamin Myers, David Biello
Special Thanks: Southern Company