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►  Facebook’s Sandberg favors release of Russia-linked ads

A top Facebook executive says ads linked to Russia trying to influence the U.S. presidential election should “absolutely” be released to the public, along with information on whom the ads were targeting.

Previously, Facebook declined to make the ads public. While Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, now favors the release, she didn’t say Thursday when the company would do so.

The company disclosed last month that it found ads linked to fake accounts — likely run from Russia — that sought to influence the election. Facebook says these ads focused on divisive political issues, such as immigration and gun rights, in an apparent attempt to sow discord among the U.S. population. The ads included promoted events and amplified posts that show up in users’ news feeds.

Facebook has turned over the ads — and information on how they were targeted, such as by geography or to people with a certain political affiliation — to congressional investigators. Congress is also investigating Russia-linked ads on Twitter and Google.

In an interview with the news site Axios on Thursday, Sandberg said Facebook has the responsibility to prevent the kind of abuse that occurred on its service during the election. She said Facebook hopes to “set a new standard in transparency in advertising.”

But she also said that had the ads been linked to legitimate, rather than fake, Facebook accounts, “most of them would have been allowed to run.” While the company prohibits certain content such as hate speech, it does not want to prevent free expression, she said.

“The thing about free expression is that when you allow free expression, you allow free expression,” Sandberg said.

The move comes as critics and lawmakers are increasingly calling for the regulation of Facebook and other internet giants.

Sandberg is meeting with elected officials in Washington this week ahead of a House hearing at which executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to testify. Sandberg is no stranger to Washington. Before her time at Google and later Facebook, she worked for Larry Summers, the treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton.

Sandberg said Facebook didn’t catch these ads earlier because it was focused on other threats, such as hacking. Facebook, she said, does owe America an apology.

“What we really owe the American people is determination” to do “everything we can” to defend against threats and foreign interference, Sandberg said.

Sandberg didn’t say whether she believes Facebook played a role in electing Donald Trump as president, as critics have said it did by allowing the spread of fake news on its service.

She said only that the role Facebook plays in elections “go beyond any one campaign, any one country.”

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has backtracked from calling the idea of Facebook’s influence on the election “pretty crazy.”

Later Thursday, Sandberg met privately with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, where she was pressed on what the company is doing in response to its discovery that many of the ads pushed by Russian-linked accounts were aimed at sowing racial discord.

A member of Congress who viewed about 70 of the roughly 3,000 ads told The Associated Press that they were meant to stir up strong emotions on all sides. Some of the ads showed white police officers beating black people, said the member, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the ads aren’t yet public.

Representative Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from Louisiana who chairs the caucus, said that 95 percent of the 3,000 ads were placed on Facebook itself, while the remaining five percent were on Instagram.

Besides discussing election meddling, the members also pushed for Facebook to improve diversity in its workforce, particularly in its upper management. Representative Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who chairs the caucus, said Sandberg promised to appoint an African-American to the board, a move the caucus and other activists have been pushing for years. Facebook has eight board members, all white. Two, including Sandberg, are women.


►  Border Patrol tests camera-toting balloon

The U.S. Border Patrol is considering a surveillance balloon that can be quickly moved to spot illegal activity, part of an effort to see if more eyes in the sky translate to fewer illegal crossings.

Agents in Texas recently finished a 30-day trial of the camera-toting, helium-filled balloon made by Drone Aviation Holding Corp., a small startup that named former Border Patrol chief David Aguilar to its board of directors in January. The 3-year-old, money-losing company gave Aguilar options that may prove lucrative if it gets more orders for its proprietary model.

The trial comes as agents test hand-launched drones, which are relatively inexpensive but hampered by short battery life and weight limits. The Border Patrol has also used six large tethered balloons in Texas since 2012, acquired from the Defense Department.

Donald Trump has pledged to add 5,000 agents, but hiring has been slow. If drones and balloons are deployed more widely, fewer agents may be needed.

The new balloon - called Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP - drew the Border Patrol’s interest largely to save money. The company says one costs $800,000 plus about $350,000 a year to operate, depending on how often it’s moved. By contrast, operating the current fleet of six large balloons costs $33 million a year, according to U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat.

The Border Patrol, in response to questions from The Associated Press, said Thursday it was evaluating results of the trial. The agency hadn’t previously disclosed the trial, but the AP learned details from Aguilar, Cuellar and head of the agents’ union Brandon Judd.

Agents began experimenting with the WASP August 21 at the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande City station and with a mobile response team in Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

Cuellar, who was briefed on the trial during a visit last month, said the agency’s top official in the region was “very complimentary” of the technology.

The balloons can be assembled and deployed by two or three agents in less than an hour and remain aloft while tethered to a moving vehicle. The large balloons, controlled remotely from trailers, can take days to assemble, require more than twice the crew and are almost never moved.

The WASP also may perform better in strong winds, which Aguilar said was evident as Hurricane Harvey hit nearby. Drone Aviation says it can handle gusts up to 45 mph (72 kph).

On the flip side, the balloons can’t carry as much equipment. One U.S. official familiar with the technology said their cameras scanned 4 or 5 miles (8 kilometers). The larger models, with their heavier gear, can peer about 20 miles (32 kilometers). The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Border Patrol hadn’t publicly discussed the balloons.

Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said it would “be a great piece of equipment for us.” The official said a decision was expected within months.

Aguilar appears ideally suited to make the company’s case. He was Border Patrol chief from 2005 to 2010 and retired from government in 2013 after stints as deputy and acting commissioner of its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection. He discusses border issues at conferences and in congressional hearings.

Drone Aviation pays Aguilar $24,000 a year and granted options to buy 50,000 shares for $2.90 apiece in January 2018 and 50,000 in January 2019 at the same price. The stock rose 8 cents, or 8.1 percent, to $1.07 Thursday in over-the-counter trading.

The company, backed by billionaire investor Phillip Frost, posted a loss of $8.5 million on revenues of $1.5 million last year. It employs 24 people at its Jacksonville Florida, headquarters, according to a presentation for investors in January.

The investor presentation touted Aguilar’s key relationships to drive growth.

Companies often recruit former officials to their boards and executive suites to help pitch their former agencies. Defense contractors are stacked with former Pentagon officials.

Such arrangements, while widespread and legal, rile some critics of corporate influence on government.

“It does raise issues for people about whether there’s kind of an inside track, a revolving door, between government and the private sector,” said Lawrence Noble, general counsel for The Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group in Washington.

Aguilar, who joined the Border Patrol in 1978 and climbed the ranks, is a principal at Global Security and Innovative Strategies, a Washington consulting firm that includes a former Secret Service director and a former Homeland Security Department chief of staff. He said Drone Aviation approached him, and he made introductions to the Border Patrol after becoming convinced the aircraft would help.

Aguilar said it’s healthy for the military and law enforcement agencies to rely on former officials in the private sector.

“This was an assessment, an evaluation, a comparison,” he said. “Now it’s up to the government to get to where they want to go, need to go, or not.”

Science and Technology

The Free Press WV

►  Could cyberattacks knock out lights in the U.S.? Not so easil

Hackers likely linked to the North Korean government targeted a U.S. electricity company late last month, according to a security firm that says it detected and stopped the attacks.

John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis for FireEye, said Wednesday that phishing emails were sent on September 22 to executives at the energy company, which he declined to identify. The attacks didn’t threaten critical infrastructure.

It’s the latest evidence of cyberespionage from various government-backed hackers targeting U.S. energy utilities, though experts say such attacks are often more about creating a psychological effect.

COULD IT HAPPEN HERE?

Concerns about hackers causing blackouts have grown since cyberattacks in Ukraine temporarily crippled its power grid in 2015 and 2016.

But a “zombie apocalypse” scenario is unlikely in the United States, said Joe Slowik of Fulton, Maryland-based security firm Dragos, which has researched the attacks on the Ukrainian grid.

“As a realistic scenario, it’s very faint,” he said. But, Slowik said, “somebody who is motivated and lucky enough” could cause significant harm.

ISOLATING CONTROLS

It’s easier to hack into emails and a front-end computer system than tap into industrial controls. That’s why, in theory, most energy companies isolate their regular workplace networks from high-security control rooms.

The nuclear power industry, for good reason, is considered to be the best at such security practices. But some smaller and locally focused electricity providers fall short in creating an impenetrable wall around industrial controls, often referred to as an air gap.

“There’s always some sort of a bridge, whether it’s a human being in their sneakers, or a wireless connection,” said Michael Daly, the chief technology officer for cybersecurity and missions at defense contractor Raytheon, based in Waltham, Massachusetts. “There’s no such thing as a totally air-gapped system.”

GEOGRAPHY HELPS

One thing protecting the U.S. electricity grid from a large-scale outage is that it’s segmented by region. Another thing is military might: Nation-state actors know that crossing the line from routine, long-term surveillance to a true attack on the grid could merit a powerful response.

Neither of those means those protecting critical infrastructure are doing enough.

“There are many reasons to target smart grids,” said Daly. “Nation-states can learn a lot by watching power usage.”

Or they could lay in wait, he said, with the aim of one day pulling the trigger and targeting a grid’s customers by slowing down power or cutting it off completely.

The latest attempted intrusion spotted by Milpitas, California-based FireEye was notable for its boldness, said Hultquist: The malefactors didn’t seem worried about being discovered.

That’s a sign that even if foreign governments aren’t yet interested, or capable, of turning out the lights in New York or Los Angeles, they might at least want to signal that they’re thinking about it. Or they might be laying contingency plans to cause disruption in case of conflict.


►  Facebook gets real about broadening virtual reality’s appeal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to be realizing a sobering reality about virtual reality: His company’s Oculus headsets that send people into artificial worlds are too expensive and confining to appeal to the masses.

Zuckerberg on Wednesday revealed how Facebook intends to address that problem, unveiling a stand-alone headset that won’t require plugging in a smartphone or a cord tethering it to a personal computer like the Oculus Rift headset does.

“I am more committed than ever to the future of virtual reality,” Zuckerberg reassured a crowd of computer programmers gathered in San Jose, California, for Oculus’ annual conference.

Facebook’s new headset, called Oculus Go, will cost $199 when it hits the market next year. That’s a big drop from the Rift, which originally sold for $599 and required a PC costing at least $500 to become immersed in virtual reality, or VR.

Recent discounts lowered the Rift’s price to $399 at various times during the summer, a markdown Oculus now says will be permanent.

“The strategy for Facebook is to make the onboarding to VR as easy and inexpensive as possible,” said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. “And $199 is an inexpensive entry for a lot of people who are just starting out in VR. The problem is you will be spending that money on a device that only does VR and nothing else.”

Facebook didn’t provide any details on how the Oculus Go will work, but said it will include built-in headphones for audio and have a LCD display.

The Oculus Go will straddle the market between the Rift and the Samsung Gear, a $129 headset that runs on some of Samsung’s higher-priced phones. It will be able to run the same VR as the Samsung Gear, leading Blau to conclude the Go will rely on the same Android operating system as the Gear and likely include similar processors as Samsung phones.

The Gear competes against other headsets, such as Google’s $99 Daydream View, that require a smartphone. Google is also working on a stand-alone headset that won’t require a phone, but hasn’t specified when that device will be released or how much it will cost.

Zuckerberg promised the Oculus Go will be “the most accessible VR experience ever,” and help realize his new goal of having 1 billion people dwelling in virtual reality at some point in the future.

Facebook and other major technology companies such as Google and Microsoft that are betting on VR have a long way to go.

About 16 million head-mounted display devices were shipped in 2016, a number expected to rise to 22 million this year, according to the research firm Gartner Inc. Those figures include headsets for what is known as augmented reality.

Zuckerberg, though, remains convinced that VR will evolve into a technology that reshapes the way people interact and experience life, much like Facebook’s social networks and smartphones already have. His visions carry weight, largely because Facebook now has more than 2 billion users and plays an influential role in how people communicate.

But VR so far has been embraced mostly by video game lovers, despite Facebook’s efforts to bring the technology into the mainstream since buying Oculus for $2 billion three years ago.

Facebook has shaken up Oculus management team since then in a series of moves that included the departure of founder Palmer Luckey earlier this year.

Former Google executive Hugo Barra now oversees Facebook’s VR operations.

Science and Technology

The Free Press WV

►  Apple teams with Steven Spielberg on video expansion

Apple is teaming up with award-winning director Steven Spielberg for its first major push into TV programming.

The iPhone maker is bringing back Spielberg’s 30-year-old anthology series “Amazing Stories” in its attempt to build an online video subscription service to challenge the digital networks operated by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO.

“We love being at the forefront of Apple’s investment in scripted programming, and can’t think of a better property than Spielberg’s beloved ‘Amazing Stories’ franchise,” NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said in a statement Tuesday. NBC Entertainment works with Spielberg’s Amblin Television on the series.

Apple declined to comment on the deal. The Wall Street Journal first reported Apple had secured the “Amazing Stories” rights.

The series aired on NBC from 1985 to 1987 and won five Emmy awards for its mixture of science fiction and horror episodes, although the series was never a big hit in the ratings.

It marked a return to TV for Spielberg, who first made a name for himself directing the ABC film, “Duel” in 1971 before moving on to the movie theaters. His films include box-office blockbusters such as “Jaws,” ″E.T.,” ″Jurassic Park,” the “Indiana Jones” franchise and critically acclaimed pictures such as “Saving Private Ryan,” ″Lincoln” and “Schindler’s List,” for which he won an Academy Award for best director.

Apple is planning to spend about $1 billion on original programming during the next year in an effort to bring in more revenue to its rapidly growing services division. The Cupertino, California, company already offers two video series through its Apple Music streaming service, “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke,” but neither has created much buzz.

Even though it appears to be more serious about TV programming, Apple still isn’t sending anywhere near Netflix, which is pouring $6 billion into its line-up this year as it tries to expand its current worldwide audience of more than 100 million subscribers. And Netflix is increasing the prices for its two most popular plans by a $1 to $2 per month in an effort to raise more money to spend on future programming.

Apple is expected to spend more than $50 million on 10 episodes of “Amazing Stories.” While the future plans for the series revival haven’t been revealed, the original “Amazing Stories” run attracted guest appearances from a list of stars that included Kevin Costner, Harvey Keitel, Charlie Sheen, Mark Hamill and John Lithgow, while its list of episode directors and writers included Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Robert Zemeckis and Brad Bird.


►  Supreme Court rejects free speech appeal in sexting case

The Supreme Court has turned away a free-speech appeal from a former school lunch server in Minnesota who was charged with sexting a 15-year-old student.

The justices did not comment Tuesday in allowing the criminal case against Krista Muccio to proceed.

Muccio was charged with sending words and photos of a sexual nature to the student. The teen’s father found them on his son’s Instagram account.

A Minnesota appeals court had struck down a state law aimed at adults who use social media to lure children into sexual encounters. The state’s Supreme Court overruled the lower court.

Science and Technology

The Free Press WV

►  There’s enough wind energy over the oceans to power human civilization, scientists say

New research published on Monday finds there is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate “civilization scale power” - assuming, that is, that we are willing to cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines, and can come up with ways to install and maintain them in often extreme ocean environments.

It’s very unlikely that we would ever build out open ocean turbines on anything like that scale - indeed, doing so could even alter the planet’s climate, the research finds. But the more modest message is that wind energy over the open oceans has large potential - reinforcing the idea that floating wind farms, over very deep waters, could be the next major step for wind energy technology.

“I would look at this as kind of a greenlight for that industry from a geophysical point of view,“ said Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif. The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by Carnegie researcher Anna Possner, who worked in collaboration with Caldeira.

The study takes, as its outset, prior research that has found that there’s probably an upper limit to the amount of energy that can be generated by a wind farm that’s located on land. The limit arises both because natural and human structures on land create friction that slows down the wind speed, but also because each individual wind turbine extracts some of the energy of the wind and transforms it into power that we can use - leaving less wind energy for other turbines to collect.

“If each turbine removes something like half the energy flowing through it, by the time you get to the second row, you’ve only got a quarter of the energy, and so on,“ explained Caldeira.

The ocean is different. First, wind speeds can be as much as 70 percent higher than on land. But a bigger deal is what you might call wind replenishment. The new research found that over the mid-latitude oceans, storms regularly transfer powerful wind energy down to the surface from higher altitudes, meaning that the upper limit here for how much energy you can capture with turbines is considerably higher.

“Over land, the turbines are just sort of scraping the kinetic energy out of the lowest part of the atmosphere, whereas over the ocean, it’s depleting the kinetic energy out of most of the troposphere, or the lower part of the atmosphere,“ said Caldeira.

The study compares a theoretical wind farm of nearly 2 million square kilometers located either over the U.S. (centered on Kansas) or in the open Atlantic. And it finds that covering much of the central U.S. with wind farms would still be insufficient to power the U.S. and China, which would require a generating capacity of some 7 terawatts annually (a terawatt is equivalent to a trillion watts).

But the North Atlantic could theoretically power those two countries and then some. The potential energy that can be extracted over the ocean, given the same area, is “at least three times as high.“

It would take an even larger, 3 million square kilometer wind installation over the ocean to provide humanity’s current power needs, or 18 terawatts, the study found. That’s an area even larger than Greenland.

Hence, the study concludes that “on an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world.“

But it’s critical to emphasize that these are purely theoretical calculations. They are thwarted by many practical factors, including the fact that the winds aren’t equally strong in all seasons, and that the technologies to capture their energy at such a scale, much less transfer it to shore, do not currently exist.

Oh, and then there’s another large problem: Modeling simulations performed in the study suggest that extracting this much wind energy from nature would have planetary-scale effects, including cooling down parts of the Arctic by as much as 13 degrees Celsius.

“Trying to get civilization scale power out of wind is a bit asking for trouble,“ Caldeira said. But he said the climate effect would be smaller if the amount of energy being tapped was reduced down from these extremely high numbers, and if the wind farms were more spaced out across the globe.

“I think it lends itself to the idea that we’re going to want to use a portfolio of technologies, and not rely on this only,“ said Caldeira.

Energy gurus have long said that among renewable sources, solar energy has the greatest potential to scale up and generate terawatt-scale power, enough to satisfy large parts of human energy demand. Caldeira doesn’t dispute that. But his study suggests that at least if open ocean wind becomes accessible someday, it may have considerable potential too.

Alexander Slocum, an MIT mechanical engineering professor who has focused on offshore wind and its potential, and who was not involved in the research, said he considered the paper a “very good study” and that it didn’t seem biased.

“The conclusion implied by the paper that open ocean wind energy farms can provide most of our energy needs is also supported history: as a technology gets becomes constrained (e.g., horse drawn carriages) or monopolized (OPEC), a motivation arises to look around for alternatives,“ Slocum continued by email. “The automobile did it to horses, the U.S. did it to OPEC with fracking, and now renewables are doing it to the hydrocarbon industry.“

“The authors do acknowledge that considerable technical challenges come into play in actually harvesting energy from these far off-shore sites, but I appreciate their focus on the magnitude of the resource,“ added Julie Lundquist, a wind energy researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “I hope this work will stimulate further interest in deep water wind energy.“

Underscoring the theoretical nature of the calculations, Lundquist added by email that “current and foreseeable wind turbine deployments both on- and off-shore are much smaller than would be required to reach the atmospheric energy limitations that this work and others are concerned with.“

The research points to a kind of third act for wind energy. On land, turbines are very well established and more are being installed every year. Offshore, meanwhile, coastal areas are now also seeing more and more turbine installations, but still in relatively shallow waters.

But to get out over the open ocean, where the sea is often well over a mile deep, is expected to require yet another technology - likely a floating turbine that extends above the water and sits atop some kind of very large submerged floating structure, accompanied by cables that anchor the entire turbine to the seafloor.

Experimentation with the technology is already happening: Statoil is moving to build a large floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland, which will be located in waters around 100 meters deep and have 15 megawatts (million watts) of electricity generating capacity. The turbines are 253 meters tall, but 78 meters of that length refers to the floating part below the sea surface.

“The things that we’re describing are likely not going to be economic today, but once you have an industry that’s starting in that direction, should provide incentive for that industry to develop,“ said Caldeira.


►  Scientists say cost of capturing CO2 declining

Technology now in limited use removes about 90 percent of carbon dioxide from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, but energy experts say cost remains the chief obstacle to bringing the “clean coal” touted by Donald Trump into the mainstream.

They cite recent advances in applying the longstanding technology, despite some earlier setbacks, but say the U.S. power sector needs bigger tax credits or other incentives to close the cost gap for using them.

“What we have now is a public policy challenge, or call it a political challenge if you will, in that next phase which is to deploy this technology more widely and bring the cost down, (which) requires a whole new set of policies that go beyond R&D to actual deployment incentives,” said Brad Crabtree, vice president for fossil fuels at the Great Plains Institute.

The U.S. has successfully cut other smokestack pollutants, including sulfur, nitrogen and mercury. But carbon dioxide is a bigger challenge because there is so much of it. Coal- and gas-fired electrical generators produce about 30 percent of CO2 from human activity. Other industries like cement, steel and fertilizer manufacturing add another 20 to 25 percent. Farming and vehicles are also major contributors.

John Thompson of the nonprofit Clean Air Task Force said there would be no way to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels without taming carbon emissions. The world has already warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the Industrial Revolution. Scientists say every fraction of a degree change in average temperatures can lead to noticeable swings in local weather patterns.

“If you don’t tackle that you really can’t constrain warming on the planet to one-and-a-half to two degrees on anybody’s likely scenarios,” he said.

In Congress, bills that now have 64 bipartisan sponsors would raise carbon-capture tax credits from $10 or $20 per metric ton depending on use to $35 or $50. Advocates want it added to the current tax overhaul proposal.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican and co-sponsor, said carbon capture would help protect the coal industry and expand oil production as well as reduce emissions. As for chances of passage, she said Thursday that it’s “too early in the process to know whether those priorities can advance together or separately.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, like other environmental groups, first advocates efficient energy use and switching to renewable sources, but regards carbon capture as “a potentially useful tool in the climate protection toolbox,” said David Hawkins, director of climate programs.

At federal labs in Morgantown and Pittsburgh, researchers cite one recently successful 13-megawatt pilot project in Colorado and say they are on target for a handful of others by 2020 while reducing the cost of carbon capture from $100 per metric ton to $40. “We’re definitely close,” said Lynn Brickett, the labs’ carbon capture technology manager.

The labs are also identifying methods to inject more liquefied carbon dioxide back into the Earth. That’s where the carbon-based coal, oil and natural gas originally came from before they were burned and produced the CO2 in the atmosphere blamed for global warming.

New energy technologies normally take 15 years to move from the laboratory to the outside world, according to the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Its researchers are developing computer models to accelerate that timeline for carbon, engineer David Miller said.

The lab, a division of the U.S. Energy Department, acknowledges routine use would be at least another decade away and historically such advances have taken 20 to 30 years. Meanwhile, more U.S. coal-fired power plants are scheduled to close.

In June, Mississippi Power Co. suspended special carbon-capture efforts at its 582-megawatt Mississippi power plant that first turned coal into gas, which cost more than $7 billion to build, more than double the planned cost. Once regarded as a possible model for “clean coal,” it now burns natural gas.

The Petra Nova project outside Houston used a $190 million federal grant toward installing a $1 billion system to capture CO2 from an existing 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant, piping it to a Texas oil field and pumping it underground to boost oil production. Operating since late December, the system is currently “breaking even,” NRG Energy spokesman David Knox said.

“We’re very interested in the technology, but until the economics work, we’re not committed to a second one,” Knox said.

With underground carbon storage, research began 20 years ago and builds on the practices of the petroleum industry, which uses carbon dioxide to drive more oil from the ground, said Traci Rodosta, the lab’s carbon storage technology manager. NETL has regional partnerships across 43 states, small-scale projects that began in 2005 and larger-scale field projects in 2008.

There are ongoing efforts in 30 countries. A Norwegian reservoir under the North Sea has injected more than 16 million metric tons of CO2, Rodosta said. Lab scientists say there have been no major incidents with leaking or seismic activity.

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