Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Method for accurate quantification of geologic sequestration of anthropogenic CO2

Technology #m09-090

Adopting a net-zero carbon energy infrastructure would significantly limit global climate change. If that infrastructure is to include combustion of the world’s large stock of coal and other low-cost fossil fuels, large-scale geological capture of CO2 will likely be one of its essential components. Efforts to develop and optimize such carbon sequestration technologies, however, are limited by an inability to gather accurate quantitative measures of the amount of CO2 being stored. This technology is a method and apparatus for tagging large industrial streams of CO2 before sequestration such that the amount stored can be accurately and selectively measured. It is therefore of particular value to energy producers and suppliers seeking to develop or improve carbon sequestration technologies (e.g. utilities and oil & gas firms).

Accurate quantification of carbon sequestration for development of optimized and cost-effective geologic carbon capture solutions

This technology uses Carbon-14 to uniquely tag industrial streams of CO2 before they are geologically sequestered. It injects a low level of this radioactive element directly into the gas stream at roughly one part per trillion. Natural geologic CO2 lacks Carbon-14. As such, the man-made tag allows for the selective identification and quantification of geologically sequestered anthropogenic CO2, whereas conventional geophysical methods of monitoring geologic CO2 are nonspecific and largely qualitative. This technology consists of a Carbon-14 injection device and a method for monitoring Carbon-14 decay in samples taken from the gas stream.

Lead Inventor:

Klaus Lackner, Ph.D.


  • Carbon sequestration
  • Pollution/waste disposal


  • Quantitative assessment of geologic CO2 inventories
  • Modular design
  • Low cost
  • Compatible with conventional geophysical methods of monitoring CO2

Patent Information:

Patent Issued (US 8,967,252)

Tech Ventures Reference: IR M09-090

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