New Study Proves Safety And Effectiveness Of Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement

New Study Proves Safety And Effectiveness Of Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement - Carbon Herald
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A new study published in Nature Communications demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement as a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) method.

This study represents the first-ever field trial of Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) technology. Researchers added magnesium hydroxide to wastewater discharged into the ocean, successfully reducing its carbon dioxide content. 

This accomplishment is the culmination of over three years of collaboration between various partners committed to tackling the climate crisis.

Relevant: “Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement Is By Far The Largest Scale Potential Carbon Removal We Have Available To Us” – Mike Kelland, CEO Planetary Technologies

Key Findings:

  • The study confirms that properly controlled OAE effectively sequesters carbon dioxide.
  • Any environmental effects are temporary and highly localized, posing minimal risk.
  • This research provides a strong foundation for larger-scale field trials.

The success of this project wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of a large team.  Partners including PML Applications Ltd, South West Water, and several others played a crucial role in bringing this critical climate technology to light.

From Feasibility Study To Real-World Demonstration

The journey began in 2021 with a successful grant application by Planetary (then Planetary Hydrogen) for a pilot project testing OAE as a CDR method. Initial modeling confirmed the rapid dilution of added alkalinity, minimizing its impact on seawater chemistry.  

Encouraged by these findings, a “methods test” was conducted at Hayle, UK, in 2022. This test aimed to:

  • Evaluate dosing and sensor hardware.
  • Demonstrate biogenic CO2 reduction in wastewater effluent.
  • Monitor offshore effects to detect any chemical changes.

Relevant: Isometric Issued Its First Protocol For Carbon Removal Via Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement

The study results, published in Nature Communications, confirm the successful reduction of CO2 in the effluent and rapid dilution after discharge. The minimal impact on seawater chemistry further supports the project’s safety.  

An independent audit also concluded low risks to the marine environment for a proposed follow-on pilot project.

The Hayle 2022 methods test stands as a world-first demonstration of OAE using wastewater and its potential as a CDR solution. 

This paves the way for a larger pilot project currently underway in Halifax, Nova Scotia, taking OAE technology a step closer to real-world application in the fight against climate change.

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