Reducing Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere by Adding Lime to the Oceans

Sunset over the ocean photo

photo: Getty Images

We've written before about attempts to monkey around with the oceans in an attempt to increase their carbon sequestration abilities, so as to mitigate the effects of climate change: seeding the oceans with iron being one of the most prominent examples. Enter another candidate for planetary engineering: adding lime (calcium hydroxide) to seawater.

Adding Lime to Seawater Increases Alkalinity, CO2 Absorption
Though the idea has be advanced before, a new method of sourcing the lime has attracted the attention of Shell, who is funding a feasibility study for the idea. Basically, the idea is based upon the idea that adding the lime to the water will increase its alkalinity, thereby increasing its ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, as well as reduce its tendency to release it again.
The stumbling block so far has been financial, it would be too expensive to obtain lime specifically for the project, rather than environmental, it's estimated that twice the amount of CO2 generated in making lime for the geo-engineering would be absorbed in the oceans afterwards.

The new solution to this really isn't technical as much as logistical. According to Tim Kruger, of Corven, the firm pushing a reconsideration of the process, "[collecting lime] 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."

via :: Science Daily
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