Researchers at UCLA in California have developed a protocol capable of extracting CO2 from the ocean. Their aim: to find a way to combat the effects of global warming and slow ocean acidification.
Since the industrial era, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been rising steadily. To compensate for this "atmospheric saturation", the ocean in turn absorbs ever greater quantities of carbon dioxide.
This change in the chemical composition of the oceans is not without consequences. Studies carried out since the 1990s have enabled scientists to establish a causal link between the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere and the change in ocean pH. Since the beginning of the industrial era, this process has led to a 30% increase in ocean acidity. Among other things, this leads to the dissolution of calcium carbonate, which is essential for many marine organisms (plankton, molluscs, crustaceans, corals, etc.).
In response to this environmental threat, a team of UCLA scientists has developed a process capable - via electrolysis - of separating water and CO2. The water is pumped, treated and returned to the ocean. The carbon dioxide remains stored in mineral form at the bottom of the sea. The water is then "cleaned" and ready to capture CO2 again. The aim of this method is not only to reduce ocean acidification, but also to enable the ocean to absorb more CO2 to combat global warming.
Even if many questions remain unanswered as to the possible consequences of this process on nature and the possibility of developing it on a large scale, the work of the UCLA scientists represents a real avenue of research for environmental preservation.