LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- A team of US scientists is drilling deep into the earth of West Virginia to determine whethera spongy layer of rock 9,000 feet beneath the surface can hold carbon dioxide, a gas that causes global warming, USA Today reported Tuesday.
The project is being closely watched by the US government and the power industry. Both see burying carbon dioxide as a possible long-term solution to keeping gases from power plants out of the atmosphere.
The scientists, funded by the US Energy Department, will know until next year whether the porous rock can hold the carbon dioxide, produced by a power plant near the town of New Haven. Andeven if the rock can hold the gases, the costs to bury carbon dioxide today would be enormous.
But if the technology used to bury the gas becomes cheaper, thetechnique "may be a silver bullet for our sector," said Dale Heydlauff of American Electric Power, the company that owns the plant.
Pumping carbon dioxide into caverns, old oil wells and depletedcoal seams would keep the gas from pouring into the atmosphere, where it would help raise the Earth's temperature.
Most scientists blame the use of fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and oil for global warming. When burned, these fuels giveoff carbon dioxide. It builds in the atmosphere and prevents the Earth from losing heat.
Most nations have approved a treaty called the Kyoto Protocol that requires wealthier nations to cut emissions of carbon dioxideor other less prevalent gases that cause global warming. But the United States declined to join the treaty. Enditem