July 12, 2010

Faculty brief Congressional staff on carbon sequestration

Two Cornell professors will brief Congressional staff in Washington, DC on carbon sequestration and how it can enhance Earth's environment.

They will speak July 13 at 10 a.m. at 2325 Rayburn House Office Building, and at 3 p.m. at 201 Capitol Visitor Center, on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Johannes Lehmann, Cornell associate professor of soil science and a leading authority on biochar, will explain how heated biomass can create renewable energy and a charcoal co-product called biochar. This biochar product is similar in structure to the Amazon region's "terra preta," which when applied to soil, captures carbon and improves crop performance. Lehmann says biochar may mitigate climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption, but understanding the science of sequestration is critical to policy decisions.

Teresa Jordan, Cornell professor of geology, examines carbon injected underground for long-term storage. She will address practices, environmental risks, costs and uncertainties associated with sequestration in saline aquifers, the most widely available potential carbon reservoirs. Jordan's current work in the northeastern United States has implications for current legislative efforts to expand geologic sequestration as a climate mitigation strategy.