The University of South Carolina will research how to combat climate change , thanks to a major grant from the US Department of Energy, The university announced this morning that the $4.9 million grant will go to researchers from the university’s Earth Sciences and Resources Institute and department of earth and ocean sciences. One of only 11 national awards from DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the grants are aimed at understanding whether CO2 – a greenhouse gas believed to be a culprit in climate change – can be safely in abandoned oil and gas reservoirs, coal beds and underground reservoirs of salt water, also called deep saline aquifers.
For three years- USC will focus on areas in Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties.
Dr. John Shafer, ESRI-SC director and the grant’s principal investigator said in a press release, “Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas. If we can find a viable way to capture carbon dioxide and store it safely underground for centuries, then we can perhaps reduce the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere”.
Additional monies from the S.C. Geological Survey, the university and the University of Illinois put the total funding for the project at about $6 million. Researchers in the project assert that the results from this could have a significant economic impact on the state and region within the next few years.
“Based on what we’ve seen, we believe that this could be a viable area for the storage of CO2,” Shafer said. “We already have a good idea of what we will find.” He says researchers are focusing strictly on the geologic properties below the earth for CO2 storage.