Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Livermore Scientists To Present Global Warming Mitigation Tool For Ridding The Atmosphere Of Excess Carbon

Date:
December 13, 2001
Source:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Summary:
Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory today will present evidence that a new method for capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and placing it in the ocean has less impact on marine life than atmospheric carbon dioxide release or other global warming mitigation methods, such as direct injection and ocean fertilization.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory today will present evidence that a new method for capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and placing it in the ocean has less impact on marine life than atmospheric carbon dioxide release or other global warming mitigation methods, such as direct injection and ocean fertilization.

LLNL earth scientists Greg Rau, Ken Caldeira and Kevin Knauss will showcase the research, called carbonate dissolution, today at the 2001 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The proposal would hydrate the carbon dioxide in power plant flue gas with water to produce a carbonic acid solution. This solution would be mixed with limestone —-- that neutralizes the carbon dioxide by converting it to bicarbonate — and then would be released in the ocean. This process occurs naturally (carbonate weathering), but at a much slower pace.

"You are altering the chemistry of the carbon dioxide that causes a less drastic change to ocean pH (acidity) and is less biologically harmful than other methods such as direct injection ocean carbon sequestration and ocean fertilization," said Rau, an LLNL guest scientist who also works as a senior researcher with the Institute for Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Whether carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere or the ocean, eventually about 80 percent of the carbon dioxide will end up in the ocean in a form that will make the ocean more acidic. While the carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, it could produce adverse climate change. When it enters the ocean, the acidification could be harmful to marine life.

"If the carbon dioxide were reacted with crushed limestone and seawater, and the resulting solution released to the ocean, the limestone would buffer the pH (acidity) of the ocean and prevent it from becoming more acidic," Caldeira said. "Furthermore, the dissolved limestone would tend to keep the carbon dioxide in the ocean and out of the atmosphere. This process would occur naturally anyway, but on about a 6000-year time scale."

LLNL scientists are now engaged in both experimental and modeling work to study the feasibility of the proposed method of ocean carbon sequestration. Caldeira said initial results appear promising. Researchers believe that the carbonate dissolution process would expand the capacity of the ocean to store carbon dioxide while minimizing the amount of carbon going back into the atmosphere, unlike some of the other forms of carbon dioxide sequestration.

Direct injection of carbon dioxide into the deep ocean will likely negatively impact marine organisms and their ecosystems, due to the increased acidity. Recent research shows that the acid-base imbalance can cause exoskeletal components to decay, retard growth and reproduction, reduce activity and cause loss of consciousness and even death to deep ocean marine life because of a disruption of oxygen-transport mechanisms (Science, Vol. 294, p. 319-320).

In addition, Caldeira, in previous studies, showed that unless carbon dioxide is converted to some other form before injection, it will degas back to the atmosphere when diffusion or ocean circulation returns it to the ocean surface. In ocean fertilization, the biology of phytoplankton (which grows close to the ocean surface) is changed so that it increases the conversion of carbon dioxide to biomass. The conversion is likely to transport acidity from the surface ocean to the deep ocean.

Rau said private companies operating power plants would need incentives to start a carbonate dissolution program. "They need motivation to sequester carbon dioxide, and they need methods that are effective and are economically and environmentally practical," he said. "Carbonate dissolution allows a power plant to continue burning fossil fuel but eliminate at least some of the carbon dioxide that is emitted, and in a way that is probably less expensive and more environmentally friendly than other carbon dioxide sequestration methods."

LLNL researchers will present their findings today and will be available to the press and public at 10 a.m. during a press conference titled "Global Warming Mitigation."

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Livermore Scientists To Present Global Warming Mitigation Tool For Ridding The Atmosphere Of Excess Carbon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011213084731.htm>.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (2001, December 13). Livermore Scientists To Present Global Warming Mitigation Tool For Ridding The Atmosphere Of Excess Carbon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011213084731.htm
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "Livermore Scientists To Present Global Warming Mitigation Tool For Ridding The Atmosphere Of Excess Carbon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011213084731.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A giant wall of dust slowly moves north over the Phoenix area after a summer monsoon thunderstorm. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A rare baby Lemur is among several baby animals getting their public debut at a Cleveland zoo. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins