Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O’Driscoll in SCI’s Chemistry & Industry magazine published today.
Shell is so impressed with the new approach that it is funding an investigation into its economic feasibility. ‘We think it’s a promising idea,’ says Shell’s Gilles Bertherin, a coordinator on the project. ‘There are potentially huge environmental benefits from addressing climate change – and adding calcium hydroxide to seawater will also mitigate the effects of ocean acidification, so it should have a positive impact on the marine environment.’
Adding lime to seawater increases alkalinity, boosting seawater’s ability to absorb CO2 from air and reducing the tendency to release it back again.
However, the idea, which has been bandied about for years, was thought unworkable because of the expense of obtaining lime from limestone and the amount of CO2 released in the process.
Tim Kruger, a management consultant at London firm Corven is the brains behind the plan to resurrect the lime process. He argues that it could be made workable by locating it in regions that have a combination of low-cost ‘stranded’ energy considered too remote to be economically viable to exploit – like flared natural gas or solar energy in deserts – and that are rich in limestone, making it feasible for calcination to take place on site.
Kruger says: ‘There are many such places – for example, Australia’s Nullarbor Plain would be a prime location for this process, as it has 10 000km3 of limestone and soaks up roughly 20MJ/m2 of solar irradiation every day.’
The process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore ‘carbon negative’.
‘This process has the potential to reverse the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. It would be possible to reduce CO2 to pre-industrial levels,’ Kruger says.
And Professor Klaus Lackner, a researcher in the field from Columbia University, says: ‘The theoretical CO2 balance is roughly right…it is certainly worth thinking through carefully.’
The oceans are already the world’s largest carbon sink, absorbing 2bn tonnes of carbon every year. Increasing absorption ability by just a few percent could dramatically increase CO2 uptake from the atmosphere.
This project is being developed in an open source manner. To find out more, please go to www.cquestrate.com, a new website, launched today.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Top Secret: On Confidentiality On Scientific Issues, Across The Ring And Across The Bedroom
- The Mystery Of The Red Sea
- Would New Planet X Clear Its Orbit? - And Any Better Name Than "Planet Nine"?
- Stop Using BMI To Determine Health
- The Greenhouse Effect Fallacy
- Why Diamonds Are More Of A Scientific Miracle Than You Think
- From Allergens To Anodes: Pollen Derived Battery Electrodes
- "Just curious, When was the last time you (the author) generated a mathematical model? On what?..."
- "Hi jmv, no I'm just referring to the article and the author of the piece. Sorry...."
- "@PWInn: Are you referring to the blog, or to the comments (including mine)? Please clarify. ..."
- "Wow, this is some pretty bad stuff. Tell me Frank, why is Venus hotter than Mercury. Seriously..."
- "This article calls to mind the Diamond Group at the Reading University Physics Department. They..."
- Florida Declares Zika Virus State of Emergency
- Indonesia’s Many Human Physical Deformities: A Closer Look
- Spinal ‘Column’: Love for Hunchback Dog, Breakthrough for 8-Yr-Old Girl
- BMI is Bologna
- Energy Drinks: The Dose Makes the Poison
- California’s Prop 65: Bad For Public Acceptance Of Science, About To Get Worse
- Cambridge researcher develops smartphone app to map Swiss-German dialects
- Studies link healthy workforces to positive stock market performance
- Pioneering discovery leads to potential preventive treatment for sudden cardiac death
- Online shopping might not be as green as we thought
- Gene family turns cancer cells into aggressive stem cells that keep growing