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Britain launches study into greenhouse gas storage

Britain launches study into greenhouse gas storage
LONDON - Britain said it was studying new technology for pumping carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants into depleted oil wells to combat a jump in greenhouse gas emissions as generators burn more fossil fuel.
The technique, if successful, could cut emissions from coal-fired power stations by 80-90 percent, the Department of Trade and Industry said. So-called carbon dioxide capture and storage would also aid oil companies by boosting the amount of crude they can extract from older wells as the gas is injected into the wells, it said. A recent report said Britain will struggle to meet its ambitious emission-cutting target because generators will burn more coal to make up for the planned closure of nuclear power plants over the next two decades. Britain is one of several developed countries that have ratified the Kyoto protocol, aimed at reducing emissions of gases like carbon dioxide and methane that many scientists believe are contributing to global warming. Energy Minister Brian Wilson said the study will examine the environmental impact of storing carbon dioxide underground and the risks of it leaking into the atmosphere, as well as the potential for the gas to be used for enhanced oil recovery. In addition, it will look at opportunities for collaborating with other countries, such as Norway and Denmark, which are interested in the technology, he said. A Cambridge Econometrics report in July predicted a rise in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 because of higher energy demand and the impending shutdown of ageing nuclear plants. All but one of the plants are scheduled to shut down by 2025. Meanwhile, high natural gas prices have prompted many generators over the past two years to switch back to coal. The government aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2010. That represents a deeper reduction than its Kyoto commitment of a 12.5 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The results of the carbon dioxide capture and storage study are slated to be published next spring. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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