BY DAVID LUM/The Guardian US coal mining companies have discovered a way of pumping carbon dioxide into the air through the process of coal combustion, finding that the process can capture some of the greenhouse gas.
The finding was reported in a paper published this week in Nature Geoscience, which has also been published in the scientific journal Science.
The paper, led by John Fyfe, the US chief scientist for climate science, was the first to look at the carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that coal companies are using to reduce the emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The technology is called “carbon capture and sequestration”.
“Our research indicates that CO 2 capture and disposal is a promising strategy to reduce emissions and promote a cleaner environment,” Fyfes team wrote.
They used a technique known as carbon capture/fusion (CCF), which involves combining methane gas with water.
It can capture the CO 2 and produce a liquid that can be released back into the environment, the authors of the paper wrote.
The research shows that the technology can also be used to store carbon in the atmosphere, a major problem for many countries, including the US.
Fyffes team measured the effects of coal power plants in the US and China.
“The CO 2 that comes from burning coal in power plants is not released to the atmosphere,” Fyss team wrote in the paper.
“Instead, it goes into the deep underground CO 2 pool.
The CO 2 is trapped for thousands of years.”
“The deep underground pool is where CO 2 will remain for billions of years,” said Robert Wiles, an energy economist at the Brookings Institution, a US think tank.
“We know that the pool is not stable and it’s a lot of carbon that stays there.”
The team measured a range of emissions and found that coal power companies in the United States emitted the most CO 2 in 2030 and 2030, compared to other countries.
In the US, the average emissions were 10.4 times greater than the average annual emissions in China, which was 7.6 times greater.
Coal companies in China emitted 8.7 times more CO 2 than the US average.
Wiles said it was “tremendous news” that CO2 emissions from the US coal industry were increasing faster than the rest of the world.
“They are a major contributor to climate change,” he said.
“In the US it is a very small contributor and China is a much bigger contributor.”
The US coal production increased by 3.2% in the last year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
But the research also shows that CO 3 emissions from China’s coal plants have been increasing.
Fys and his team estimate that China emitted more than 12 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the United State in 2030.
Fries research also looked at a US-based study from 2016 that showed the US could be a net emitter of CO 2 by 2065.
“I would say that’s probably an optimistic projection, but it’s certainly a lot lower than what’s actually happening,” Fydes said.
Fyds team is now working with a different US study to better understand the impacts of the coal industry in China.
The team also hopes to study the CO 3 from US coal plants, and the impacts on China’s economy.
It’s also hoping to see how the US compares to China in other ways, including how much CO 2 the country produces per capita.
“China produces much more than we do, but we’re not doing much of it,” Fryes said, “and that’s an issue.”
“We think China is on track to reach its carbon goal, and that’s what we’re really interested in.”
Fyfing and his colleagues said that the new research would help them “reach our climate goals”.
“There is an urgent need to change the economics of coal production,” said David Fyffe, the chief scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a part of the Department of Energy.
“This is the way to do that.”
“What we can do is to have a system that’s much more sustainable, where coal is produced with less CO 2, and then we’re using the CO to reduce our emissions, and China does a much better job of doing that,” Fries said.