Assessing the technical aspects of ocean-alkalinity-enhancement approaches

Matthew D. Eisaman*, Sonja Geilert*, Phil Renforth, Laura Bastianini, James Campbell, Andrew W. Dale, Spyros Foteinis, Patricia Grasse, Olivia Hawrot, Carolin Löscher, Greg H. Rau, Jakob Bang Rønning


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Ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) is an emerging strategy that aims to mitigate climate change by increasing the alkalinity of seawater. This approach involves increasing the alkalinity of the ocean to enhance its capacity to absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This chapter presents an overview of the technical aspects associated with the full range of OAE methods being pursued and discusses implications for undertaking research on these approaches. Various methods have been developed to implement OAE, including the direct injection of alkaline liquid into the surface ocean; dispersal of alkaline particles from ships, platforms, or pipes; the addition of minerals to coastal environments; and the electrochemical removal of acid from seawater. Each method has its advantages and challenges, such as scalability, cost effectiveness, and potential environmental impacts. The choice of technique may depend on factors such as regional oceanographic conditions, alkalinity source availability, and engineering feasibility. This chapter considers electrochemical methods, the accelerated weathering of limestone, ocean liming, the creation of hydrated carbonates, and the addition of minerals to coastal environments. In each case, the technical aspects of the technologies are considered, and implications for best-practice research are drawn. The environmental and social impacts of OAE will likely depend on the specific technology and the local context in which it is deployed. Therefore, it is essential that the technical feasibility of OAE is undertaken in parallel with, and informed by, wider impact assessments. While OAE shows promise as a potential climate change mitigation strategy, it is essential to acknowledge its limitations and uncertainties. Further research and development are needed to understand the long-term effects, optimize techniques, and address potential unintended consequences. OAE should be viewed as complementary to extensive emission reductions, and its feasibility may be improved if it is operated using energy and supply chains with minimal CO2 emissions.
TidsskriftState of the Planet
Sider (fra-til)29
StatusUdgivet - 2023


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