Planetary Technologies – the carbon removal company sequestering CO2 in the ocean via Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE), announced it has received a report from the Environmental Agency (EA) assessing the safety of the company’s approach for use in the marine environment in regards to a proposed trial.
The small trial the company is planning involves adding magnesium hydroxide to the sea at St Ives Bay, Hayle, the UK in order to accelerate the process of natural sequestration of CO2 in the ocean. The magnesium hydroxide will be added into the treated wastewater outlet pipe at the Hayle Waste Water Treatment Works, 1.5 miles (2.4km) into the sea outside St Ives Bay.
According to Planetary, EA’s report contributes to the strong body of scientific evidence that magnesium hydroxide, the company’s source of alkalinity, is safe for use in the marine environment without adverse effects in the ecosystem from the proposed trial.
This new report also states that the naturally occurring antacid is “of low acute toxicity to aquatic organisms and of low chronic toxicity to microalgae”, therefore the risk to marine organisms from the trial is considered “very low.”
The report also confirms minimal likely effects are seen on the most sensitive marine life even in areas that would see the highest concentration of magnesium hydroxide in the immediate vicinity of the diffused dispersal site during the trial.
What would follow next is that Planetary will work to update its trial proposal that will take into account the input from EA and that of the local community. EA is yet to decide whether or not to approve the trial which happens via issuing a Local Enforcement Position.
Planetary’s approach to removing CO2 from ocean water involves adding antacid that neutralizes the CO2 dissolved in the water. Through a chemical reaction, the CO2 gets sequestered as a carbonate salt that according to Planetary will stay as a stable form of CO2 for about 100,000 years. The process known as ocean alkalinity enhancement reduces the concentration of CO2 in the ocean enabling more CO2 from the atmosphere to be dissolved in the water and stored safely.