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Imagine a gigantic, inflatable, sausage-like bag capable of storing 160 million tonnes of CO2 the equivalent of 2.2 days of current global emissions. Now try to picture that container, measuring up to 100 metres in radius and several kilometres long, resting benignly on the seabed more than 3 kilometres below the oceans surface.
At first blush, this might appear like science fiction, but its an idea that gets serious attention from Dr. David Keith, one of Canadas foremost experts on carbon capture and sequestration. Keith will talk on the subject at the 2008 Annual Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston at a session entitled Ocean Iron Fertilization and Carbon Sequestration: Can the Oceans Save the Planet?
There are a lot of gee-whiz ideas for dealing with global warming that are really silly, remarks Keith, an NSERC grantee and director of the Energy and Environmental Systems Group at University of Calgary-based Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy. At first glance this idea looks nutty, but as one looks closer it seems that it might technically feasible with current-day technology. But, adds Keith, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment, its early days and there is not yet any serious design study for the concept.
The original idea of ocean storage was conceived several years ago by Dr. Michael Pilson, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island, but it really took off last year when Keith confirmed its feasibility with Dr. Andrew Palmer, a world-renowned ocean engineer at Cambridge University. Keith, Palmer and another scientist at Argonne National Laboratory later advanced the concept through a technical paper prepared for the 26th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics
|Contact: Dor Dunne|
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council