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Geothermal Technology Offers Path To Curbing CO2 Emissions, Global Warming

First Posted: 06/10/11 11:06 AM ET Updated: 08/10/11 06:12 AM ET

Geothermal Energy

A promising new technology could provide a powerful weapon in the fight against global warming.

From Gizmag:

The technology focuses on tapping heat from beneath the Earth's surface. By using high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of water to extract the heat, the system has the potential to produce significantly more efficient renewable energy. At the same time, by sequestering CO2 deep underground, it actively reduces atmospheric CO2. It's being hailed as a two in one solution for climate change.

Faculty member Martin Saar and graduate student Jimmy Randolph of the University of Minnesota's Department of Earth Sciences call their approach CO2-plume geothermal system (or CPG). Gizmag explains that, because CO2 travels more easily than water through porous rock, the heat can be extracted more effectively, "making it a more economically and technologically efficient system than traditional geothermal electricity production."

Word of the innovation comes on the heels of news that an international effort to lower C02 emissions through an extension of the Kyoto Protocol is encountering resistance.

A recent study conducted by Stanford University scientists concluded that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to climb, it could result in an irreversible rise in temperatures in many regions of the world.

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Filed by Simon McCormack  |