April 13, 2009

Vol. 24 , No. 10   

View Entire Issue (Vol. 24 , No. 10)

Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage as a Means to Close the Carbon Loop
LUNCH 11:30 a.m., LECTURE 12:00 p.m.

The production of CO2 from the oxidation of fossil-carbon over the past 200 years has resulted in the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere, altering the Earth's radiation balance in a potentially dangerous way. One important approach for mitigating anthropogenic climate change is through the capture and storage of CO2 emitted from fossil-fuel fired power plants. CO2 capture and storage (CCS) involves isolating CO2 at its source, transporting it to a suitable site, and injecting it into a formation that is likely to contain it for millennia. By doing CCS, we seek to minimize CO2 emissions as we transition from current fossil-based energy systems to future renewable-energy based systems. The entire CCS supply chain from the thermodynamic limit of the work required to capture CO2 from power-plants to the long-term chemical and physical evolution of CO2 that has been injected into geologic repositories will be discussed.

Kurt Zenz House studies and develops methods for large-scale capture and storage of human-made carbon dioxide. He recently patented electrochemical weathering, a novel process that expedites the ocean's natural ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and cofounded a venture-capital-backed alternative-energy company. Additionally, he cofounded the Harvard Energy Journal Club to facilitate cross-disciplinary discussions about energy technology; in 2007, Esquire magazine featured him among its "Best and Brightest." He holds a bachelor's degree in Physics from Claremont McKenna College and a Ph.D. in Geoscience from Harvard University.