Protecting Water Supplies from Nitrosamine and Nitramine Carcinogen Contamination by Carbon Sequestration Operations

Timespan: 
2010-2012
Principal Investigator: 

Carbon sequestration, the removal of CO2 from combustion exhausts and its geological storage, is one of the major thrusts to reduce global warming. The only cost-effective, and commercially-available technology to remove CO2 from power plant flue gases for carbon sequestration relies on chemicals call amines to bind the CO2. Unfortunately, preliminary research has indicated that nitrogen oxides (NOx) in flue gases react with amines to form potent carcinogens called nitrosamines and nitramines. Preliminary modeling indicates that these carcinogens could be released from the capture plant exhaust at concentrations sufficient to contaminate downwind drinking water supplies.  This research seeks to understand conditions that minimize the formation of these compounds.

Seth Herzon, Department of Chemistry