Narrator: This is Science Today. When most power plants burn fossil fuels like oil and coal, they also produce carbon dioxide, or CO2, emissions that most scientists believe cause global warming. But researchers led by Ray Smith of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are using rocket engine technology to produce a pure stream of CO2 that can be kept out of the atmosphere through a process called sequestration. The sequestered CO2 could then be used to increase production from older and lower-performing oil fields.
Smith: This is a process that's being used today and in fact, four percent of the domestic oil production is done with what we call CO2 floods, that is the injection of CO2.
Narrator: An increase in the use of CO2 floods could sharply boost domestic oil production.
Smith: You can expect about two barrels of oil for each barrel of liquid CO2 that you inject into the field and to put that into perspective, it means we can potentially produce five times as much energy coming out of the ground as oil as the fossil fuel that we put into the gas generator to make electricity.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.