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Analyzing Risks and Vulnerability Associated with Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

Capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and geologically storing it underground is a potentially significant greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. Injecting carbon dioxide underground, however, poses a number of risks to human health and the environment. These risks include potential harm to local populations and vegetation due to exposure to leaking carbon dioxide, increased seismic activity, groundwater acidification, and shifts in groundwater flow.

Abt Associates’ staff assisted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in evaluating the risks and vulnerabilities associated with carbon dioxide sequestration in geologic formations. To do this, Abt’s scientists and analysts developed a vulnerability evaluation framework that enables geologic sequestration project regulators, developers, and other stakeholders to screen key site-specific conditions to determine whether any of those conditions require detailed risk assessment, monitoring, or management interventions. The framework includes several condition-specific flow charts to help users understand potential risks and vulnerabilities, and potential remedial. Developing the framework involved conducting a thorough literature search, soliciting input from carbon dioxide capture and storage experts, and facilitating a formal peer review by the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme.

Read more about the evaluation:
“Toward Practical Application of the Vulnerability Evaluation Framework for Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide,” Bacanskas, L., A. Karimjee, and K. Ritter. 2009. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-9), 16–20 November 2008, Washington DC, USA. Energy Procedia 1: 2565–2572.
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