Technology aims to sequester carbon deep in the ocean off B.C. coast

A job off B.C.’s coastline concentrated on eradicating carbon dioxide from the air is aiming to tap into a resource that makes up approximately 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface area — the ocean.

The Reliable Carbon Task, which is overseen by Ocean Networks Canada, needs to use the ocean in carbon sequestration efforts as a way to fight weather transform, in accordance to Kate Moran, the project’s principal investigator.

“People have a tendency not to glimpse at the ocean for these sorts of solutions,” stated Moran, who is also president of Ocean Networks Canada. “In truth, the ocean has the most important ability, including the ocean basalt, to actually help us with removing CO2 from the environment.”

Usually talking, carbon sequestration aims to minimize greenhouse gases by capturing CO2 from the ambiance and injecting it underground.

In the circumstance of Solid Carbon, carbon dioxide would be sucked from the environment by immediate air capture technology powered by wind turbines floating in the middle of the ocean. It would then be injected into basalt rock formations, where the CO2 would respond and ultimately — over 10 to 25 years — turn into rock.

The know-how would be the initially of its type in Canada, states Moran.

Kate Moran, the principal investigator of the Reliable Carbon Venture, claims ‘people are likely not to appear at the ocean for these forms of [climate] methods.’ (Samuel Martin/CBC)

Other projects have injected carbon dioxide into the sedimentary basin of the ocean, but Moran reported what will make this initiative distinctive is that the ultimate location is basalt, which sits underneath sedimentary rock.

“This technological innovation is the greatest in phrases of durability, due to the fact it will react with the basalt, variety rock and hardly ever go again into the ambiance,” Moran explained.

The energy of basalt

The team is focusing on the Cascadia Basin, which is around 300 kilometres southwest of Vancouver Island.

Moran said the basalt there has the potential to retail outlet 750 gigatonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent of around 15 to 20 yrs of world emissions.

A pre-feasibility examine was finished in 2018 with the U.S. Section of Electricity, and a feasibility study is underway. Moran reported the next action would be a demonstration undertaking, which can start out as quickly as they can protected $60 million in funding — an quantity she is self-assured can be raised from authorities, industry and other benefactors.

The demonstration, which would include an precise injection of CO2 into basalt formations and monitoring, would get around two several years.

A graphic shows CO2 reacting with basalt to become rock.
This graphic, built by Ocean Networks Canada, demonstrates the Stable Carbon procedure. (Submitted by Ocean Networks Canada)

Idea Meckel, a senior research scientist investigating geological carbon storage at the Gulf Coast Carbon Centre in Austin, Texas, explained that offshore carbon seize is not new.

Meckel, who is not involved with Solid Carbon, factors to the Sleipner CCS undertaking in the North Sea near Norway, which started out in 1996. The offshore project captures CO2 from organic gasoline output and injects it into a sandstone formation approximately a single kilometre below the seabed.

“It is regarded as to be the longest-running, premier-scale CO2 injection project strictly for the applications of storage, as opposed to other industrial functions like improved oil restoration,” Meckel claimed.

He reported there are a few hurdles impeding additional offshore carbon capture.

“It is highly-priced to seize and transportation and re-inject CO2,” he said. “The difficulties look to be mostly economic, trying to make confident that the project can operate economically so that it isn’t really strictly a sunk value.”

Logistics and feasibility

Curran Crawford, a professor of mechanical engineering at the College of Victoria and a direct on the Sound Carbon Venture, stated he has been operating with college students to ensure the task is doable.

To maintain emissions down, the job would depend on wind electrical power. Curran said the turbines would be 150 metres tall with rotors offering it a diameter of 240 metres, on a floating triangle system 100 metres throughout.

A wind turbine stands tall in a body of water.
This rendering reveals the wind turbines that would electrical power capture know-how to suck CO2 out of the air in the middle of the ocean. (Submitted by Ocean Networks Canada)

The electrical power produced by the wind turbines would energy equipment that would extract CO2 from the air. The carbon collected would then be fed via a pipeline to the underwater injection web-site.

The do the job the group has carried out so significantly demonstrates that “it seems technically possible,” Crawford said. “It is not heading to capsize or one thing like that.”

Crawford reported the know-how could be utilized everywhere in the environment, stressing that about 90 for every cent of basalt on Earth is under the ocean.

He cautions that it will be vital to do the correct environmental scientific tests right before the project gets underway.

A man in a red collared shirt and glasses sits in a classroom.
Curran Crawford, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Victoria, says the get the job done his staff has done so much on the Solid Carbon Project reveals that ‘it seems to be technically possible.’ (Samuel Martin/CBC)

“You don’t want to be in migratory hen paths and factors like that. Underwater, you want to search in which you’re anchoring your program, that there is certainly not some sensitive ecosystem or some thing like that,” he reported.

Moran claimed feasible earthquake activity was researched by a postdoctoral pupil from the College of Calgary, who located there was only nominal risk.