A team of researchers from the School of Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton believe that volcanic ash can play an important role in removing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In a new study, the team modelled the effect of spreading volcanic ash from a ship to an area of the ocean floor to help increase the natural processes which lock CO2 in the seabed.
The technique was found to hold the potential to reduce CO2 levels. Moreover, it is cheaper, simpler and less invasive technique compared to others.
The study recently appeared in the Anthropocene journal. The paper’s lead author is Jack Longman, a former Post-Doctoral Research Assistant at the University of Southampton.
Today, we all can clearly observe the effects of harmful emissions in the form of climate change, drought, floods etc. According to studies, we will soon reach a point after which we won’t be able to revert back to normal environmental conditions. Even after knowing this, all the countries have missed the targets they set to preserve nature.
It is high time to act on it and save our planet.
It is evidently clear that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, active greenhouse gas removal (GGR) will be required, according to Martin Palmer, co-author of the study.
What is GGR?
Greenhouse gas removal (GGR) is a type of climate engineering wherein carbon dioxide and other greens house gases are removed from the atmosphere and sequestered for long periods of time.
How does volcanic ask help in reducing CO2?
Once the volcanic ash gets deposited on the seabed, it increases carbon storage in marine sediments. One of the ways oceans lock CO2 is by storing it in sediments on the seafloor as calcium carbonate and organic carbon.
Oceans are already the greatest sinks of manmade CO2 and this can increase it further.
The team’s study showed that this method could isolate as much as 2300 tonnes of CO2 per 50,000 tonnes of ash delivered for a cost of $50 per tonne of CO2.
This is much cheaper than most other GGR methods. It is obviously simpler as it involves depositing a naturally forming material.
Though it sounds good for now, the technique have to be studied further for efficiency and potential side affects.
Jack Longman, Martin R. Palmer, Thomas M. Gernon. Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean. Anthropocene, 2020; 100264 DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100264
Press Release: University of Southampton