A new study published in the journal Science Advances has laid out a method to turn planet-heating carbon pollution into sodium bicarbonate and store it in oceans. This technique, called direct air capture, can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but the concentrations of carbon dioxide are so small that it is challenging and expensive to remove. The study focuses on using copper to modify the absorbent material used in direct air capture, resulting in an absorbent that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere two to three times more efficiently than existing absorbents. The captured carbon dioxide can then be turned into baking soda using seawater and released into the ocean at a small concentration.
The oceans are considered infinite sinks, and this technique could make direct air capture more cost-effective. However, some experts have raised concerns about the negative impacts on the oceans, which are already under pressure from climate change and pollution, and regulatory hurdles that may need to be surmounted.
The development of this innovative method for converting carbon pollution into sodium bicarbonate and storing it in oceans represents a significant step towards achieving several Sustainable Development Goals. By providing a way to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change, this method supports Goal 13 for Climate Action. Additionally, by helping to reduce ocean acidification, this method supports Goal 14 for Life Below Water. Finally, by encouraging the adoption of more sustainable production practices, this method supports Goal 12 for Responsible Consumption and Production. Overall, this breakthrough technology designed by people that form part of the global society, has the potential to play a significant role in addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and advancing progress towards a sustainable future.