Sea Water Dissolution - An Interim Solution to Industrial Carbon Dioxide Emission
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1989
The Greenhouse Effect, with its potential for global warming, is strongly linked to industrial carbon dioxide emissions. Global carbon mass balances indicate that absorption in sea water is the major natural sink of carbon dioxide. However the surface waters of the oceans are close to chemical equilibrium with the atmosphere with respect to carbon dioxide, while the deep ocean waters are not. Consequently, the transfer of carbon dioxide from the surface limits the rate at which the oceans can absorb carbon dioxide. It is proposed that direct transfer of carbon dioxide from industrial installations to deep ocean waters be evaluated as an interim measure to slow the rate of increase of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere and hence allow time for the development of sustainable industrial practices. As an aid to thinking on the development of suitable technology, equilibrium calculations are presented which demonstrate that sea water in equilibrium with flue gases will dissolve six times the quantity of carbon dioxide that is dissolved in equilibrium with the ambient atmosphere. Sea water saturated with calcium carbonate and in equilibrium with flue gases will dissolve 20 times the quantity of carbon dioxide that is dissolved in equilibrium with the ambient atmosphere. However the absolute concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide are still very small.