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Alberta to invest big in carbon capture

The Canadian province is going to be one of the first to pay big bucks to bury its fumes.

The Canadian province of Alberta wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050 through a big push into carbon capture and sequestration.

Under a new plan unfurled by the government today, Alberta will spend up to $500 million on technology and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. In all, the government hopes to prevent 200 million tons of gases from getting into the atmosphere. If it hits its goals, emissions will be lower in 2050 than in 2005.

A whopping 70 percent of that reduction will likely be accomplished by capturing the gases and storing it somehow. Many researchers and companies have proposed seeding underground aquifers or porous rock formations with carbon dioxide captured in smoke stacks.

Others have come up with a system to mix carbon dioxide with other chemicals and make solids. Skyonic, for instance, transforms it into baking soda.

Whatever techniques it adopts, the program puts Alberta on a course to become a test bed for capture and storage technologies. Although sequestration has been tested, it hasn't been widely tested. Canadian universities will also likely benefit as the government is asking for a "made in Alberta" solution.

The remaining reductions will be accomplished by investing in renewable energy sources such as solar power (18 percent) and energy efficiency.

Ontario in 2006 and 2007 imposed sweeping energy polices.