Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developed a new technique that allows removal and storage of atmospheric carbon. Moreover, it can be used as a mean to mitigate ocean acidification, through generating of carbon-negative hydrogen and producing alkalinity.
The findings of the laboratory based study are published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers demonstrate how the new electrolyte solution with high hydroxide concentrations, produced using the products of typical saline water electrolysis, can absorb and retain atmospheric CO2.
In addition to this, because the process generates high amounts of carbonates and bicarbonates, it can be used to normalize acidity in oceans and save vulnerable marine ecosystems such as corals and shellfish.
The authors suggest that increasing global temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will only worsen oceans acidification. Therefore, a technique which can minimize the devastating effects should definitely be considered and applied.
To date, research that has looked into atmospheric carbon capturing has proposed expensive chemical techniques that mainly focus on procedures to concentrate molecular CO2 from the air. This study, however, does not require concentrating of CO2, which makes the process affordable and environmentally friendly at the same time.
The next task of the team is to establish the most effective operating procedures.