Coal-fired power plants may not be going away any time soon. But state officials hope they can perform a disappearing act with the carbon dioxide from those plants. That’s why workers will spend the next couple of months boring to a depth of more than 8000 feet at a site in Hancock County, Kentucky. Then, researchers will inject carbon dioxide into the well in hopes that it seeps into the tiny pores of subterranean rock. If it stays put, power plants could have options for storing the CO2 they emit. But Kentucky Geological Survey researcher Rick Bowersox says the storage part isn’t the problem. It’s grabbing the CO2 before it escapes.
“The carbon capture part of this process is the unknown. There are several different processes that are under study and under test,” says Bowersox.
Some of those processes will be studied and tested by members of a recently announced consortium of Kentucky researchers, government officials, and industry representatives. The consortium will test a portable carbon capture unit as well as new combustion technologies that reduce the amount of CO2 produced.