MIT team proposes new method for carbon capture from oceans


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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research team has presented a new carbon capture solution focusing on removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the oceans worldwide.

Carbon capture, a contentious topic centered on extracting CO2 from the air, water or soil using technology, is arousing debates.

Despite the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) allocating $131 million for many carbon capture projects, critics argue that this approach diverts attention from potentially more effective strategies fighting global warming.

In a paper published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, six MIT engineers explain the plan for purifying seawater of CO2.

The process employs two electrochemical cells with silver and bismuth electrodes, releasing protons into the water in the first cell, which then convert to carbon dioxide, subsequently collected by a vacuum. The second cell returns the seawater to a more basic state, releasing it back into the ocean free from carbon dioxide.

The method offers relatively low energy consumption, high electron efficiency, and a cost advantage in comparison to air-based carbon capture technologies.

The captured CO2 can be stored under the seafloor or used on land for chemicals, fuels, or other products.

Recognizing the urgency of lowering CO2 in oceans, as they absorb more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems combined, the MIT team emphasize the importance of water-based carbon capture.

Oceans absorb 26% of human-induced CO2, causing widespread ocean acidification, and CO2 in seawater is over 100 times more concentrated than in the air.

The proposed technology, slated to be demonstration-ready by 2025, has the potential to effectively address this issue. Once deployed on a large scale, this breakthrough could revolutionize carbon capture efforts, challenging the skepticism surrounding current technologies and providing a promising tool for mitigating the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

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