A research team from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has presented a novel carbon capture solution focusing on removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the world’s oceans.
Carbon capture, a contentious topic centered on extracting CO2 from the air, water or soil using technology, is sparking debates.
Despite the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) allocating $131 million for various carbon capture projects, critics argue that this approach diverts attention from potentially more effective strategies in the battle against global warming.
In a paper published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, six MIT engineers detail an innovative plan for purifying seawater of CO2.
The process employs two electrochemical cells with silver and bismuth electrodes, releasing protons into the water in the first cell, which then convert to CO2, subsequently collected by a vacuum.
The second cell returns the seawater to a more basic state, releasing it back into the ocean free from CO2.
This method boasts relatively low energy consumption, high electron efficiency, and a cost advantage compared to air-based carbon capture technologies.
The captured CO2 can be stored under the seafloor or utilized on land for fuel, chemicals, or other products.
Recognizing the urgency of reducing CO2 in oceans, as they absorb significantly more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems combined, the MIT researchers emphasize the importance of water-based carbon capture.
Oceans absorb 26% of human-induced CO2, contributing to widespread ocean acidification, and CO2 in seawater is more than 100 times more concentrated than in the air.
The proposed technology, set to be demonstration-ready by 2025, could address this issue effectively.
This breakthrough, once deployed on a large scale, has the potential to revolutionize carbon capture efforts, challenging the skepticism surrounding current technologies and offering a promising tool for mitigating the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions.