Thursday, July 23, 2009
Carbon sequestration buzz: Bees and balloons looking for leaks
By Jeff Kart
You've heard of the canary in the coal mine as an indicator of a toxic
The U.S. Department of Energy is using bees and helium balloons to
make sure carbon dioxide is staying put in sequestration sites.
How? Researchers at the National Energy Technology Lab are using
chemical tracers to fingerprint CO2, then comparing it to pollen
collected by the bees.
“Researchers will determine if pollen collected by bees contains
measurable quantities of tracer or if bees bring back tracer from
direct contact with foliage. They will use balloons to determine
atmospheric variations in tracer content to assess the effectiveness
of CO2 storage sites,” the DOE reports:
The agency is working with researchers from Michigan State University,
which by the way, makes its own honey.
Michigan is home to a carbon sequestration test site in Gaylord, part
of a larger project called the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration