MELBOURNE, Australia – Researchers at CO2CRC, a carbon capture and storage company, are confident that greenhouse gas emissions can be safely stored underground for up to 1,000 years.

A four-year trial by CO2CRC at Nirranda South, in southwest Victoria, has been testing the safety and long-term viability of C02 storage. As part of the $23 million experiment, carbon is captured from power plants and other combustion sites and stored 1.5 km underground. As of April, more than 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide has been stored underground as part of the Victorian trial.

"Through preliminary trials and results, we have proven that we can store C02 in the subsurface for 1,000 years,” explained CO2CRC Chief Executive Tania Constable in an interview with ABC News Radio in Victoria, Australia. "The next stage is about reducing the cost of the injection processes, so we're using new monitoring methods and new tools [to] make the process commercially viable."

"The second stage of the project was all about de-risking and proving to the community that we can safely store C02 over a period of time and that it will remain where we have modelled it," Constable explained. "That was a very important stage of our experiment, because we have now proven that we can do that. For the next couple of years we'll be looking at the stabilization of that CO2 in the subsurface, and monitoring and verifying that the CO2 plume will stay exactly where we thought it would."

According to Constable, a 2010 study by the Danish Centre for Earth System Science found the geological storage of carbon, either underground or below of the ocean floor, could prove effective if leakage was kept under 1% or less per 1,000 years.

Greenhouse gas emissions can be stored for 1,000 years underground, researchers report

CO2CRC has stored more than 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide underground as part of the Victorian trial.