The world needs to store billions of tons of carbon. It could start in a surprising place.

The corn-based ethanol industry could become a surprising leader in a technology that the world needs to fight climate change, an economic analysis published Monday suggests — a development that could scramble the intense environmental politics of the ethanol issue.

The technology in question is carbon capture and storage, or CCS — widely believed to be necessary to save the climate but still in a fledgling state, with relatively few large-scale installations around the world. But fitting corn-ethanol refineries with carbon-storing technologies would be a winning financial proposition that could simultaneously advance the CCS industry’s growth, the research finds.

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