Skip to comments.A dash of lime -- a new twist that may cut CO2 levels back to pre-industrial levels
Posted on 07/21/2008 9:28:27 AM PDT by Abathar
Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O'Driscoll in SCI's Chemistry & Industry magazine published today.
Shell is so impressed with the new approach that it is funding an investigation into its economic feasibility. 'We think it's a promising idea,' says Shell's Gilles Bertherin, a coordinator on the project. 'There are potentially huge environmental benefits from addressing climate change and adding calcium hydroxide to seawater will also mitigate the effects of ocean acidification, so it should have a positive impact on the marine environment.'
Adding lime to seawater increases alkalinity, boosting seawater's ability to absorb CO2 from air and reducing the tendency to release it back again.
However, the idea, which has been bandied about for years, was thought unworkable because of the expense of obtaining lime from limestone and the amount of CO2 released in the process.
Tim Kruger, a management consultant at London firm Corven is the brains behind the plan to resurrect the lime process. He argues that it 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.
Kruger says: 'There are many such places for example, Australia's Nullarbor Plain would be a prime location for this process, as it has 10 000km3 of limestone and soaks up roughly 20MJ/m2 of solar irradiation every day.'
The process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore 'carbon negative'.
'This process has the potential to reverse the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. It would be possible to reduce CO2 to pre-industrial levels,' Kruger says.
And Professor Klaus Lackner, a researcher in the field from Columbia University, says: 'The theoretical CO2 balance is roughly right it is certainly worth thinking through carefully.'
The oceans are already the world's largest carbon sink, absorbing 2bn tonnes of carbon every year. Increasing absorption ability by just a few percent could dramatically increase CO2 uptake from the atmosphere.
I guess we now have another excuse to tell AlGore to go pound sand...
One useful definition of insanity might be: searching for solutions to non-problems.
Not only that, but I guarantee an unintended consequence would come from this.
...to pound limestone IN to sand...
Increased alkalinity is, no doubt, bad for the whales...
These people scare the hell out of me. They have no idea what the Earth will do in two weeks, much less two years or two decades, but they want to lay waste to natural processes out of sheer chutzpah.
Very well put...
And if we then add Tequila...!
One pleasant side effect: pre-marinated sea bass.
Global cooling by reducing co2...fish kills due to dumping all that lime, declining vitality in the worlds plants and trees due to reduced co2...I can think of all sorts issues. Now the use of lime in a power plant bubbler scrubbing system before gasses escape might be an interesting concept....could something like that be put into cars and trucks?
Amen to that! I don't think we want to go around messing with the ecosystem that God himself created!
Drill here, drill now, pay less!
Coral and shellfish remove calcium and CO2 from water to make their calcium carbonate shells.
Do clams have thicker or thinner shells lately?
I guess there are people who would know that, I happen to not be one of them.
New CCC effort.
Pick, shovel, donkey cart....
None of these idiots have studied the negative effect of “fixing” a non-problem.
I sure hope not!
Only another a demand on automakers, thereby raising prices.
Also, if what the IPCC has claimed is really true (and I am very skeptical), than less than 1% of the earth’s atmosphere drives climate. And what you said may come to pass, global cooling, or even worse bring on an ice age.
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...
I know that the clam-farm guys are worried about thinner shells. But that may just be from listening to the alarmist news and not related to actual observed thicknesses.
Total lunacy, no matter how you slice it.