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October 15, 2009

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Coal comfort on carbon dioxide arrives at last

CHINA had ample potential capacity to store carbon dioxide from burning coal underground and offshore, an international team of scientists said in a report released yesterday that suggested the option may be cheaper than expected.

A largely untested technology known as carbon capture and sequestration involves capturing carbon dioxide emitted from burning coal and other fossil fuels and storing it in rock formations deep underground.

The aim is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

The group of researchers affiliated with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in Richland, Washington, said their studies of China's geologic conditions showed the country had enough storage capacity for carbon dioxide to meet potential demand for more than a century.

Most locations, they said, were within 160 kilometers of major sources of carbon dioxide emissions such as coal-burning power plants - a fact that could help keep costs lower than expected.

"In dealing with climate change, the more options we have, the better," Robert T. Dahowski, of the laboratory, which is affiliated with the United States Department of Energy, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"This is a first step that we hope can stimulate more efforts in this area."


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