When people talk about the lungs of the planet, the immediate reference is to the great forests, starting with the Amazon rainforest. Certainly, however, the great expanses of trees are not the only ones that allow our planet to “breath”. In fact, it should be pointed out that the seas and oceans also present a similar function. That is why the SeaChange project has been developed.
In fact, with their waters and sea plants, these huge bodies of water absorb very large amounts of carbon dioxide. Since the industrial revolution, and thus from the time when man began to produce a gigantic amount of carbon dioxide emissions, the oceans have made it possible to mitigate the consequences of related climate change.
In fact, it is estimated that they have absorbed 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. While at the same time capturing a good part of the heat generated. In fact, these boundless reservoirs of carbon dioxide have stemmed the worst effects of pollution.
With this in mind, researchers at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) are developing a plant to remove carbon dioxide from the ocean. This, to ensure that this beneficial function continues to “make the planet breathe.”
Why remove carbon dioxide from the ocean
Certainly increasing pollution has already had very serious consequences for seas and oceans. The ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gases has led to acidification of the waters, destruction of coral reefs, and threatening a wide variety of marine species.
But is it perhaps possible to clean up the waters of the oceans, preventing further damage, and at the same time reactivate their ability to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So as to help in the fight against climate change and thus global warming?
One concrete answer is coming precisely from a team of researchers at the Institute of Carbon Management at UCLA. The laboratory assembled by the scientists is currently positioned on a barge moored in the port of Los Angeles. Thus they have come up with a technology called SeaChange, which allows precisely to remove carbon dioxide from the ocean.
How SeaChange works
Let us now see how carbon dioxide from the ocean can be removed.
It starts by sucking seawater into the SeaChange device’s reservoirs, then sending an electrical charge that triggers a series of chemical reactions.
This traps the greenhouse gas, through the formation of a solid mineral that includes calcium carbonate.
At this point the seawater is returned to the ocean. Which can then extract greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the air.
Hypotheses for the future
The UCLA team is currently working to start a second demonstration site, in Singapore. From the data collected in the two labs, the groundwork can be laid for larger plants to remove carbon dioxide from the ocean.
The goal is to have these devices operational by 2050. So that thousands of tons of CO2 can be removed from the ocean. But how much of a difference will such technology actually make?
It is estimated that by 2050, technologies capable of removing 10 billion cubic meters of carbon dioxide per year from the air will need to be in place to be able to effectively stop climate change.
Thus, it is understood that SeaChange devices may be valuable for the future. But they certainly cannot be the only ones. The challenge is therefore to develop technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the air as quickly as possible, aiming on the one hand for their effectiveness in cleaning up the air. And, on the other hand, for not causing harmful side effects.