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Into the abyss: Deep-sixing carbon
Date:2/18/2008

and Arctic Engineering in June 2007.

Keith sees this solution as a potentially useful complement to CO2 storage in geological formations, particularly for CO2 emanating from sources near deep oceans.

He believes it may offer a viable solution because vast flat plains cover huge areas of the deep oceans. These abyssal plains have little life and are benign environments. If you stay away from the steep slopes from the continental shelves, they are a very quiet environment.

For CO2 to be stored there, the gas must be captured from power and industrial point sources, compressed to liquid, and transported via pipelines that extend well beyond the oceans continental shelves. When the liquid CO2 is pumped into the deep ocean, the intense pressure and cold temperatures make it negatively buoyant.

This negative buoyancy is the key, explains Keith. It means the CO2 wants to leak downwards rather than moving up to the biosphere.

The use of containment is necessary because CO2 will tend to dissolve in the ocean, which could adversely impact marine ecosystems. Fortunately, says Keith, the cost of containment is quite minimal with this solution. He and his colleagues calculate that the bags can be constructed of existing polymers for less than four cents per tonne of carbon.

The real costs lie in the capture of CO2 and its transport to the deep ocean. If we can drive those down, he notes, then ocean storage might be an important option for reducing CO2 emissions.


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Contact: Dor Dunne
dore.dunne@nserc.ca
613-851-8677
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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