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MSU partnership aims to reduce carbon footprint

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jul 31 2013 06:33:55 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2013 06:38:46 PM MDT

Photo Courtesy Boise Inc.

BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Montana State University has teamed up with an independent research group to find a way to reduce our carbon footprint by burying carbon dioxide underground.

Folks with MSU are working with the group Batelle to find places where they can store carbon in rocks, specifically basalts or old lava flows deep underground.

When the carbon dioxide comes into contact with basalts, in turns into minerals and rocks, locking it up permanently underground.

They do it by compressing the gas into a liquid-like state, then drilling a well and pumping the material into the basalts with a pipe.

"We estimate there's enough storage in basalts to store 300 years of the CO2 emissions in our six state region," explains Director of the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership Dr. Lee Spangler.

The Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership is working on a site in Washington state.

Spangler tells us there are a lot of fossil fuel resources available in the state that drive the economy. With this new technology, he says the idea is to be able to continue to use those resources while complying with regulations that demand a reduced carbon footprint.

Spangler says other countries may be interested down the road.