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Carbon capture and sequestration

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, October 2, 2008

Although Mark Easley (“Sequester This,” Sept. 26) thinks sequestering carbon dioxide is a laughable idea, it is actually one of several proactive steps we can take to responsibly utilize our abundant fossil fuel resources while we develop the ability to move to a sustainable renewable energy base.

Professor Moniz was right on target at the Forum when he specifically called out carbon capture and sequestration as one of many research areas that must be pursued if we are to solve the daunting energy problems facing our planet. Easley makes many ill-informed statements in his letter, but the most objectionable one of all was his misrepresentation of the carbon cycle.

The rate at which carbon dioxide is being emitted by humans has caused a substantial increase in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the dawn of the industrial age. These concentration increases are measurable and are compiled by Oak Ridge National Lab (see http://cdiac.ornl.gov/).

The fact is, humans are changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere through use of fossil fuels. While it is not entirely clear what the specific long term climatic impact of this will be, prudence dictates that we take steps to mitigate this situation.

I am proud to say that Notre Dame is working to solve this problem. Along with my faculty and student colleagues in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and five companies from around the country, we are working on a multi-million dollar research project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop advanced technologies that will help make practical carbon capture and sequestration a reality.

I invite any interested student, including Easley, to contact me if they want to learn more about carbon capture and sequestration.

Edward Maginn


Sept. 30