A Radical Solution to Climate Change: Burying Carbon Dioxide Underground

Khryss | Published 2017-09-30 09:57

Will it work?

The undeniable climate change has been becoming more and more debilitating as time goes by. It was even found that Earth’s temperature increased up to 1.5 °C since preindustrial times. With that, different efforts on saving our planet arose. One of these, and the most famous perhaps, is (you guessed it right) cutting of our carbon dioxide emissions.

But, as we can all see, we've been a slave to commodities that rely on emissions of such pollution to produce. So, researchers suggested a possible alternative: why not store it somewhere else instead?

Their vote? Dump the CO2 in deep ocean trenches!

That way, we'll just have lakes full of liquid carbon dioxide on the seabed and keep the greenhouse gas out of the air. Steve Goldthorpe, an energy analyst based in New Zealand, said that we just have to make sure the CO2 reaches about 3000 metres deep for it to be denser than water. This enables such toxicity to naturally sink to the bottom and permanently sit there.

He even looked for any suitable storage site utilizing Google Earth. And he didn't fail: he noticed what's called the Sunda trench, south of the Indonesian archipelago, with about 6 kilometers depth. “It is big enough to accommodate 19 trillion tonnes of liquid CO2, which is greater than all the CO2 from the total global fossil fuel emissions,” he says.

Actually, there's a natural production of these carbon dioxide lake. This idea has even been considered before by Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California. However, it has been ultimately discarded as CO2's reaction to water could form carbonic acid. This consequently creates a more acidic water that can harm marine ecosystems.

This can be possibly alleviated, though, by putting a physical barrier to trap the liquid, “perhaps some sort of plastic sheeting," Caldeira says. “Something like giant plastic-encased sausage-like tubes of liquid CO2 lying on the sea floor could potentially store CO2 safely and securely for many millennia.”

But the biggest setback would be its location as deep ocean trenches aren't usually near drilling sites and power plants, which makes the transfer of CO2 very expensive. “Most likely, people will want to store the carbon near where the power plants are,” he says.


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