December 5, 2016
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PNNL scientists show how to lock away greenhouse gases underground

Following up on intriguing lab work, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have shown that carbon dioxide can be pumped underground and turned into solid rock in just two years. The recently released results were a surprise to the larger scientific community. Conventional wisdom has suggested it would take thousands of years for the necessary chemical reactions to convert the carbon dioxide into limestone-like crystals.

The Tri-City Herald reports on the experiment, part of a $12 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and private industry.

The PNNL researchers injected nearly 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide, dissolved in water, into basalt lava formations a half mile underneath the Boiuse Inc. paper mill southeast of the Tri-Cities at Wallula. The carbon dioxide worked its way into holes that pockmark the underground basalt like a sponge. There, the carbon dioxide reacted with calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese in the basalt, turning to a limestone-like carbonate mineral.

“We proved it. We did it. It was exactly what we expected from the lab experiments,” PNNL laboratory fellow Pete McGrail said.

Both the United States and Canada have enough potential geological storage to hold 5,700 years worth of carbon dioxide emissions. China and India also sit atop similar basalt formations.

Research at PNNL continues on this promising avenue for carbon capture and storage.



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Sustainability in Action

A green milestone for Microsoft: 500-acre Redmond campus generates (almost) zero waste

By Nat Levy, GeekWire

The 44,000 employees at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters campus went through a whopping 189 million pounds of food and packaging between July and December 2015. Even more impressive than employees' appetites is the fact that the company managed to keep 99.5 percent of food and dining waste out of landfills.

Microsoft said Monday its headquarters has earned the gold level of Zero Waste Certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council for keeping 90 percent of food, office, and construction waste out of landfills. Microsoft says it is the first tech company in the country to obtain such an achievement.
Read the full story in GeekWire
Build on Success

Washington lawmakers should hold off tinkering with Boeing tax break

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Benefits of the state investment can be seen in Everett, where Boeing has now spent more than $1 billion on its facility for building advanced, composite wings for the 777X.

This work involves a constellation of suppliers. It also expands the cluster of companies and expertise working with advanced composites in Washington.

That cluster, the jobs it supports and the future opportunities it creates should continue, regardless of what happens with the WTO.
Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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