How Does The Ocean Reduce Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide – Most scientists agree that stopping climate change – and the global warming, extreme temperatures and storm surges that come with it – will require removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. But since humans emit about 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year, current efforts to capture it seem unlikely.
Now, a UCLA research team has proposed a process that could help remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. Instead of directly capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the technology would be developed in seawater, allowing seawater to absorb more of it. Why? Because, for the same volume, sea water contains approximately 150 times more carbon dioxide than air.
- 1 How Does The Ocean Reduce Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
- 2 Global Patterns Of Carbon Dioxide
How Does The Ocean Reduce Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
The researchers present their idea, called single-step carbon sequestration and storage, or sCS2, in a paper published today in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
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Lead author Gaurav Sant, director of UCLA’s Center for Carbon Management and a Samuel Fellow and university professor, said: “To slow climate change, we need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at levels between 10 tons and 20 billion dollars a year.” in architecture and environment and materials science and engineering from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. “To implement a solution at this level, we have to draw energy from nature,” he said.
Since the atmosphere and ocean are in balance, if carbon dioxide is removed from the ocean, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can dissolve. At this point, seawater is like a sponge of carbon dioxide that has already absorbed its full capacity, and the sCS2 process aims to draw it out, allowing the sponge to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The proposed technology would include a reactor, a system that is constantly fed raw materials and produces products. Seawater flowing through the network allows electricity to pass through the water, making it alkaline. This starts a chemical chain that eventually combines dissolved carbon dioxide with calcium and magnesium native to seawater, producing exite and magnesite in a way similar to how the ocean works. The flowing seawater will then be free of dissolved carbon dioxide and ready to absorb more. The by-product, in addition to minerals, is hydrogen, which is a clean fuel.
In addition to being potentially billions of tons, the approach proposed by the UCLA team has significant advantages over current ideas for solving the problem of atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions.
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The name includes “one step” to distinguish it from other reactions that require carbon dioxide to undergo a concentration process before being stored. And while some programs call for storing carbon dioxide trapped in geological deposits like degraded oil and gas, there’s a problem with fracking putting that carbon into the atmosphere. In contrast, sCS2 is intended to store carbon dioxide, a powerful mineral, long-term.
“The idea of turning carbon dioxide into rocks is going nowhere,” said Sant, a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.
“Sustainable, secure, and permanent storage is our answer,” added lead author Erika Callagon La Plante, a former UCLA assistant professor of engineering and now an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The team did a detailed analysis of the materials, energy and costs needed to understand the concept and what to do with the product. Not surprisingly, given the enormity of the carbon problem, it is estimated that around 1,800 sCS2 plants would be needed to block 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, at a cost of billions of dollars.
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“We must be clear: managing and reducing carbon dioxide is an economic issue,” Sant said. “Many of today’s methods of managing carbon require more clean energy than we can produce or are not feasible. Therefore, we must create solutions that are simple and do not harm the planet. We have tried to use the lens of pragmatism to consider how we can achieve large-scale industrial performance. “Unprecedented, considering the limited resources and resources we have.”
Researchers agree, however, that sCS2, even on a small scale, represents an improvement in carbon capture and storage that should be considered as part of any effective strategy to combat climate change.
Other authors of the study include UCLA’s Dante Simonetti, assistant professor of biomolecular chemistry; Jingbo Wang, postal researcher; Abdulaziz Alturki, Ph.D. a graduate and currently assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia; Xin Chen, developer; and David Jassby, associate professor of architecture and environment.
The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, the Grantham Foundation for the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Institute, the U.S. Energy Research Institute and the China Water and Power Corporation. Technology, University of Texas at Arlington and UCLA Center for Carbon Management.
Global Patterns Of Carbon Dioxide
Subscribe to UCLA’s RSS feed and our news headlines will be delivered directly to your readers. Carbon sustains life. It is the basis of all the building blocks of life: the nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids that make up cells. Carbon is also at the root of one of the most pressing problems facing our planet: climate change. Atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane are at very high levels, trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Microbes are another player in the atmosphere. They change the carbon landscape, sequestering carbon and releasing it into the atmosphere, oceans and biological systems. Climate change causes microbes and microbes to shape the climate.
Most of the world’s carbon is stored in rocks and kerogen (from oil and natural gas), ocean debris, organisms and the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be fixed by photosynthetic organisms such as plants. CO
It can also dissolve in the ocean where it is absorbed by microbes and the food web.
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This carbon cycle has been predicted so far (see Figure 1). With the use of fossil fuels we add another carbon sink to the atmosphere. In other words, we are releasing carbon at an alarming rate, much faster than the rate at which carbon can be stored through carbon dioxide.
Most carbon sequestration occurs in the oceans, where about 45% of CO2 is released by humans. And microbes, although they are small, have a lot to do with this.
When carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into the oceans, photosynthetic bacteria and eukaryotes capture it and convert it into biological forms. Through a process called carbonation, photosynthesis, marine organisms incorporate carbon into the building blocks of molecules, with 2 main results: (1) carbon is absorbed into the food web, and (2) molecular oxygen is released as products enter the sea and finally the air.
Microscopic organisms called phytoplankton are believed to be responsible for producing 50-85% of the earth’s oxygen through photosynthesis, along with a microbe, cyanobacteria.
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, is responsible for about 5% of all photosynthesis on Earth. The name phytoplankton comes from the Greek words phyton (plant) and plankton (wanderer or wanderer), because these are single-celled single-celled microbes that float in the ocean. There are prokaryotic and eukaryotic phytoplankton, such as diatoms and dinoflagellates.
Microorganisms absorb carbon from the food web and serve as food for complex organisms. When other organisms consume these microscopic organisms, the carbon is transferred to larger organisms, which absorb the carbon into their bodies or release it into the ocean as waste or through decomposition after death. Most of the carbon in the food web remains 100 meters above sea level, where it can eventually be released back into the atmosphere.
However, a small portion of the carbon in the food web eventually sinks into the deep sea in the form of “sea ice”—small pieces of dead animals, algae, and detrital materials that don’t exist. When this happens, carbon can be stored in the oceans instead of being released into the atmosphere. When the carbon reaches a depth at which it is unlikely to be recovered for more than one hundred years, the carbon is considered sediment.
Increases in atmospheric CO2 negatively impact marine food webs through two main factors: ocean acidification and warming. Increasing atmospheric CO2 causes more CO2 to dissolve into the oceans, lowering the ocean’s pH. Furthermore, heat captured by atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, thus increasing their temperatures.
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These changes have different effects on many microbes that have the same end result: carbon depletion.
It lowers the ocean’s pH to the point where biological attacks can occur and begin
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