Climate change: A new strategy for removing CO2 from the atmosphere shows promise

Scientists have proposed a novel method for drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the water.

According to the authors, this innovative method absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere up to three times more effectively than existing techniques.

It is possible to convert the warming gas into bicarbonate of soda and store it affordably and safely in seawater.

According to experts, the new approach might hasten the use of carbon removal technologies.

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While efforts to control and reduce carbon dioxide emissions have been made in recent decades, numerous businesses have instead concentrated on creating technology to remove CO2 from the environment.

Switzerland’s Climeworks are arguably the most well-known. It has created devices to draw air from the atmosphere and filter and trap carbon dioxide molecules over the previous ten years.

Image caption: In Iceland, Climeworks has built the biggest direct air capture plant in the world.
The gathered CO2 is injected deep underground at a facility in Iceland, where it is permanently changed into stone.

Large corporate customers like Microsoft, Spotify, and Stripe are now purchasing the company’s certified carbon removal service.

Cost is a significant issue for the majority of current direct air capture strategies, though.

Although being a potent warming agent, CO2 is somewhat diluted in the atmosphere, with an air concentration of about 400 parts per million (ppm).

This means that in order to both absorb and expel the CO2, massive machinery with high energy requirements are required.

According to the experts involved, this new method, which makes use of readily available resins and other compounds, promises to be far more cost-effective and efficient.

To remove CO2 from the air, the study team “tweaked” existing materials and borrowed a method utilized for applications in water.

In tests, the novel hybrid absorbing substance was able to absorb three times more CO2 than the competition.

plantation of trees IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES
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Large-scale tree planting is an inexpensive method of capturing direct air, but it consumes a lot of land, as it does in China.
“To my knowledge, there is no absorbing material which even at 100,000 ppm, demonstrates the capability we obtain it in direct air capture of 400 ppm,” said the study’s principal author, Prof. Arup SenGupta from Lehigh University in the US.

Our technique is unusual in that it can easily capture a large amount of CO2 in a tiny amount of material.

Even though the development is still in its early phases, others in the industry have embraced it.

“I am glad to see this study in the published literature, it is really exciting, and it stands a high possibility of revolutionizing the CO2 collection efforts,” said Prof. Catherine Peters from Princeton University, a geological engineering expert who wasn’t involved in the research endeavor.

“What makes this clever is that it began with a technology that was formerly intended for use in the sea. This development introduces the gas phase to this technology—a novel concept.”

“The demonstrated CO2 capture performance is encouraging.”

What to deal with the gas that is trapped after CO2 is captured is one of the major issues.

One popular method is to store it underwater or in the sea in old oil wells. But, the new study contends that the captured CO2 may be converted into bicarbonate of soda and stored conveniently and securely in seawater by adding a few chemicals.

green power
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Despite the fast adoption of renewable energy, it is anticipated that significant carbon removal will also be necessary to control global warming. Dr. SenGupta says he now wants to create a spin-off firm to advance the technique.

He thinks that eliminating CO2 in this way will be essential to preventing a significant increase in global temperatures and may also directly benefit developing nations.

We must bring it to nations like Bangladesh, Barbados, or the Maldives because they also have a role to play and cannot continue to suffer in silence.

Some scientists are hesitant to place too much focus on novel and developing technologies, such as direct air capture, out of concern that it would undermine efforts by individuals and governments to reduce carbon emissions.

However, many others believe that the quick implementation of direct air capture in addition to significant reductions in carbon is the best hope of preventing disastrous climate change because the temperature thresholds of the Paris climate agreement are in jeopardy due to rising emissions.

As a result of the fact that we are unquestionably in an overshoot regime and need to remove carbon from the environment, Prof. Klaus Lackner, a pioneer in the field of removing CO2, stated that it has become even more crucial.

“To be of use, DAC will have to become more affordable. I have faith that it can accomplish this.”

His optimism is shared by Professor SenGupta, who thinks that this novel strategy can eliminate CO2 for less than $100 per tonne.

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