My Idea for a Sea based carbon sink system.

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Offline Adstar

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My Idea for a Sea based carbon sink system.
« on: 17/11/2011 05:06:25 »
Hello all.

I have been thinking about the problem of land being taken out of food production and given over to tree based carbon sinks. I believe the lowering of food production calls into question the over all benefit of this method of "sinking carbon".

So my idea is to actually sink the carbon in the deepest parts of the oceans.

We have seen around the world old ships being purposely sunk in relatively shallow costal waters to create artificial reefs. At an optimum depth a sold surface will allow the growth of a rich ecosystem. This is really using the ships surface at the optimum depth to create a substantial amount of carbon-based biomass.

My idea is to create this solid surface at the optimum depth in the deep ocean. A good place would be in the central pacific where the ocean currents create a circular flow, thereby keeping the solid surface in the central ocean over deep waters.

My solid surface would be made up of box containers with large surface areas. These would be filled with water to the point where they would sink to the optimum depth for reef growth. Their neutral buoyancy would be maintained by linking them to a system that could replace the water inside them with air as they became heavier due to the weigh of the biomass growing on top of them.

When the containers reach their maximum carrying capacity the system would disconnect from the container causing the container to fill with water and sink to the ocean bottom. Thereby taking all the biomass and associated Carbon with it.

Benefits. Very large areas of unused ocean could be used as a carbon sink instead of large areas of land that are needed for agriculture. Large areas of the ocean would become much more productive for fishing, the containers would provide a large supporting environment for increased fish populations.

So what do you think?

With the input of a few specialists and designers i think this system would be a winner.


Offline Phil1907

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My Idea for a Sea based carbon sink system.
« Reply #1 on: 23/11/2011 12:35:51 »
You say "substantial."  Give us some hard numbers - what would be the amount of carbon sequestered?


Offline CliffordK

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My Idea for a Sea based carbon sink system.
« Reply #2 on: 24/11/2011 02:42:12 »
One thing that one has to do is make sure they system is not operated on an energy loss.

For example, say you have 100 tons of iron.  That you use to capture 200 tons of calcium carbonate. 

How much energy did it take to make that original 100 tons of iron?  Is it lost, or recycled?  I.E.  Can one just scrape the barnacles off of the sub, and start over, or is the whole ship/sub sunk?

I suppose you could minimize the expense by providing a framework like chickenwire (that hopefully wouldn't decompose too fast).  But, with the idea of using thin wire to capture a lot of organic matter and carbonates.

Anyway, if you consider the approximately 20 gigatons of carbon that is released each year, it would take a massive sequestration project.

A similar idea that I heard out.
People compose concrete out of lime. 

However, the calcium can be recovered from the oceans, and the carbonate from the air (or a direct power plant exhaust).  And, thus, on could potentially make concrete out of exhaust + seawater.  And, no need to mine the limestone.