New plan to increase ocean’s natural ability to suck up CO2

December 9th, 2007 - 11:43 am ICT by admin  

Washington, December 9 (ANI): Scientists have evolved a new idea to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere building water treatment plants that would enhance the ocean’s natural ability to absorb the gas on a large scale.

There have been suggestions that reducing fossil fuel use and deforestation and burying carbon underground or deep in the ocean may be helpful in cutting down such emissions.

The new plan, however, mimics natural geochemical reactions that occur between rocks and the ocean but at a much faster rate.

“If you think about global warming, you can do one of three things: You can decrease emissions of CO2; you can do nothing and adapt to whatever changes result; or you can do some kind of large-scale geo-engineering project that would get at the problem through the back door,” Discovery News quoted Kurt Zenz House, a Ph.D. candidate in earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University, as saying.

He revealed that the main idea of his team was to increase the ocean’s alkalinity by raising its pH (potential of hydrogen) level, so that it could better soak up excess CO2.

The researcher said that his could be done electrifying the seawater at treatment plants, and mixing it with volcanic rocks. He said that this would raise the pH level of the oceans water, and make it better able to absorb the CO2.

House said that as per the plan, about 100 ocean treatment plants could reduce emissions by 15 per cent over several years, and about 700 plants could offset all CO2 emissions.

“I like the idea of pulling CO2 out of the air,” said David Archer, professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago.

He, however, added: “If the ultimate strategy is to scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere, it’s hard to image that that’s the most efficient way. It seems easier to capture it at coal plants, where it’s in a concentrated form.”

House conceded that the plan had a way to go before it could be implemented.

“There’s a lot of engineering that needs to be worked out before any pilot plant could be built,” he said.

He, however, added: “If it happens that we are unable to reduce emissions at all and climate change ends up being far worse than we thought, then a technology like this could serve as a safety valve.” (ANI)

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