Rock-burning, sea-zapping geoengineering may help fight climate change

November 13th, 2010 - 1:38 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 13 (ANI): Rocks that suck carbon dioxide out of the air could be key in the fight against climate change, say scientists.

While addressing a conference at the Royal Society in London this week, Tim Kruger of Oxford Geoengineering, a networking organisation in the UK, said that “enhanced weathering” could in theory remove as much CO2 from the atmosphere as we want - although the practical challenges are enormous.

Kruger has two ideas for how to do it. The first involves adding calcium oxide - also known as quicklime and made from chalk - to the oceans, reports New Scientist.

Calcium oxide reacts with water to form calcium hydroxide, which is strongly alkaline. This absorbs CO2 dissolved in seawater, causing the ocean to suck replacement CO2 out of the air.

His second method is to run an electrical current through seawater near the ocean surface. This causes a chemical reaction with the salt in the water, producing alkaline sodium hydroxide, which then absorbs CO2 just like calcium hydroxide.

“Both methods have the potential to draw down carbon dioxide without limit,” Kruger says, because the raw materials necessary are readily available.

The study appears in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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