Using Mother Nature's method to save oceans' marine life

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Washington, Jan 20 (ANI): Scientists at Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz have found a way to encourage oceans' marine life by using seawater and calcium to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) in a natural gas power plant's flue stream, and then pumping the resulting calcium bicarbonate in the sea.

When carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, a large portion goes off into the sea and harms marine life, especially corals and shellfish.

Greg Rau found that a seawater/mineral carbonate (limestone) gas scrubber removed up to 97 percent of CO2 in a simulated flue gas stream, with a large fraction of the carbon ultimately converted to dissolved calcium bicarbonate.

The process would hydrate the carbon dioxide in power plant flue gas with water to produce a carbonic acid solution. This solution would react with limestone, neutralizing the carbon dioxide by converting it to calcium bicarbonate-and then would be released into the ocean.

"The experiment in effect mimics and speeds up nature's own process. Given enough time, carbonate mineral (limestone) weathering will naturally consume most anthropogenic CO2. Why not speed this up where it's cost effective to do so," said Rau.

The solution would also add ocean alkalinity that would help buffer and offset the effects of ongoing marine acidification.

"This approach not only mitigates CO2, but also potentially treats the effects of ocean acidification. Further research at larger scales and in more realistic settings is needed to prove these dual benefits," Rau said.

"This method allows a power plant to continue burning fossil fuel, but eliminates at least some of the carbon dioxide that is emitted, and in a way that in some locations should be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than other carbon dioxide sequestration methods," he said. (ANI)

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