New CO2 ocean sequestration method
Nov 7, 2007 - UPI
U.S. scientists have developed a technology
that enhances removal of carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere and stores it in Earth's oceans.
Researchers from Harvard and Pennsylvania State Universities said their method
-- unlike other ocean sequestration technologies -- doesn't make oceans more
acidic and might be beneficial to coral reefs.
"Essentially, our technology dramatically accelerates
a cleaning process that nature herself uses for greenhouse
gas accumulation," said Harvard graduate student
Kurt Zenz House.
In natural silicate weathering, carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere dissolves in fresh water and forms
weak carbonic acid, he said. As the water percolates
through the soil and rocks, the carbonic acid converts
to a solution of alkaline carbonate salts. That water
eventually flows into the ocean and increases its
An alkaline ocean can hold dissolved carbon, while
an acidic one will release the carbon back into the
atmosphere, the scientists said.
"In the engineered weathering process we have
found a way to swap the weak carbonic acid with a
much stronger one (hydrochloric acid) and thus accelerate
the pace to industrial rates," said House.
The research is detailed in the journal Environmental
Science and Technology.