CO2 capture and sequestration


Date Thursday January 22nd 2009
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) has recently emerged as an important component of a portfolio of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CCS avoids atmospheric emissions of CO2 by separating CO2 from large emission sources, compressing it and then pumping it deep underground for permanent storage. This presentation will provide an overview of CCS technology, including world-wide potential, storage capacity and impacts on greenhouse gas emission reduction. The presentation will also cover what we do and don’t know about long term storage security and how storage performance can be monitored using a variety of available technologies. Finally, the question of long-term liability will be discussed-and how greater understanding of fundamental storage mechanisms can be used to make this a tractable issue.


Sally M. Benson was appointed GCEP Director in January 2009 after holding the Executive Director post since March 2007.

A Professor (Research) in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) in the School of Earth Sciences, Benson has been a member of Stanford's faculty since 2007. Her research group in ERE investigates fundamental characteristics of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations as a means of climate change mitigation. (The Benson Lab website is at She teaches courses on carbon dioxide capture and storage and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies.

A ground water hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson has conducted research to address a range of issues related to en ergy and the environment. For the past 10 years, she has studied how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and pumping it into deep underground formations for permanent sequestration. Benson was a coordinating lead author on the influential 2005 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. Her research interests also include technologies and energy systems for a low-carbon future, groundwater quality and remediation, biogeochemistry of selenium, and geotechnical instrumentation for subsurface characterization and monitoring.

Benson graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in geology. She completed her graduate education in 1988 at the University of California, Berkeley, after receiving master's and doctoral degrees, both in materials science and mineral engineering.

The author or co-author of over 160 scientific publications, Benson is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

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