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CO2 Sequestration by ocean fertilisation needs further research

December 15th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-CO2-Capture

You are at: Oilgae Blog.

An analysis by a leading Australian research body has urged caution and says more research is crucial before commercial ventures are allowed to fertilise oceans on a large scale and over many years to capture CO2.

Scientists say sprinkling the ocean surface with trace amounts of iron or releasing other nutrients over many thousands of square kilometres promotes blooms of tiny phytoplankton, which soak up carbon dioxide in the marine plants. When the phytoplankton die, they drift to the ocean depths, along with the carbon locked inside their cells where it is potentially stored for decades or centuries in sediments on the ocean floor.

The ACE CRC report says ocean fertilisation just using iron would likely hit an absorption limit of about 1 billion tonnes of carbon (3.7 billion tonnes of CO2) annually, or about 15 percent of mankind’s total carbon emissions.Cullen of Dalhousie University said studies suggested that to sequester large amounts of carbon would require fertilisation of most of the Southern Ocean for long periods of time.”The question is can we assess those large-scale and long-term effects on the basis of experiments 100 by 200 km (60 by 120 miles) in size. I have not seen evidence it can be done.”

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