Singapore has been planning on expanding a pilot assignment that promotes the ocean’s capacity for absorbing carbon dioxide emissions, using one of the many emerging technologies that the supporters hope can have a highly decisive role in the worldwide battle against climate change.
As researchers call for further research into ocean carbon dioxide removal (abbreviated OCDR), PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, has developed a plant that makes use of electricity for extracting CO2 from seawater, permitting it to absorb more and more greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as it gets released into the ocean.
The project, built at a desalination facility on the western coast of Singapore, extracts 100 kilograms of CO2 a day using technology designed by U.S. company Equatic, founded by the researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (popular as UCLA).
At the plant, seawater is run via an electrolyzer that converts dissolved CO2 into calcium carbonate and generates hydrogen.
PUB is planning on securing funds by the end of the year for building a demonstration plant with a daily capacity of approximately 10 tons, and is also going to think of expanding beyond, mentioned Gurdev Singh, a PUB GM who leads this project.
We have shown that the technology works, but the key is to enhance the technology and at scale, he mentioned.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (abbreviated IPCC) has said that the removal of CO2 in the atmosphere is going to be as crucial as cutting down emissions when it concerns curbing the temperature rise.
But as OCDR has been described by an environmental group as the “unsung hero” in the fight against global warming, it stays unclear if new technologies are feasible when those are deployed at scale.
Gaurav Sant, Equatic’s founder stressed the commercial potential.
What will make this a resilient commercial facility is that one can get the same equipment to give two products: hydrocarbon credits and hydrogen, he mentioned.
It could profit by selling the calcium carbonate to the local building industry, he specified.
The project is one of the multiple pilot OCDR ventures all over the world. Some depend on fetching nutrient-rich deep-sea water to the surface to stimulate the growth of seaweed, while others aim at reducing ocean acidification levels and boosting CO2 uptake.
Some specialists warn that the probable environmental impact of the technologies is unknown. On Tuesday, over 200 scientists mentioned in an open letter that the OCDR research must be prioritized not only to improve the potential but also to head off probable risks.
Sir David King, the head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group and one of the letter’s signatories, mentioned that he favored nature-based techniques, and was also skeptical regarding the efficacy of highly energy-intensive OCDR tech like the Equatic venture, that is going to cost a great deal to pump water in/out of the plant.
But several billions of tons of CO2 have to be eradicated from the atmosphere, and higher investments in OCDR research was the need of the hour, he said.
What is required today is to reduce the experimental timeline, and that seeks higher funding, he said.
If one came up with a few billion dollars, he added that he believes they would accelerate the programs to the level needed.
References: The Print, bnn, Reuters
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