A team of researchers from the Israeli company Rewind, dedicated to solutions for climate change, has developed an innovative method of carbon storage that utilizes the Black Sea as a natural sink. The process involves taking plants and other biomass with high concentrations of carbon and sinking them to the seabed. This effectively prevents the carbon from being released back into the atmosphere, storing it effectively for thousands of years.
The inspiration for this method came from nature itself, as plants are known for their ability to capture and store carbon dioxide. By preserving the balance of carbon release when plants decompose, researchers hypothesized that they could achieve a net negative effect, preventing the carbon from returning to the atmosphere. This method utilizes existing plant material that would otherwise go to waste or be burned.
The Black Sea was chosen as the ideal location for carbon storage due to its geological shape, which prevents oxygen from reaching the deeper layers where carbon-rich materials sink. The lack of oxygen creates an environment that preserves the plants and prevents their decomposition. Additionally, the Black Sea region produces a significant amount of residual biomass from agriculture and wood products, making it a suitable place for this process.
Woody plants, such as trees, are particularly suitable for carbon storage as they rapidly capture carbon and are stable in water. Other agricultural residues, such as sunflower stalks, are also viable options. The biomass undergoes testing for carbon content and harmful chemicals before being transported and sunk into the sea.
If scaled up, this carbon storage method has the potential to remove 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. This is significant considering that the world emitted 36.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2022, and carbon removal is crucial for climate change mitigation.
While carbon capture technologies exist, one of the challenges is the amount of energy required to filter CO2 from the air and the associated infrastructure costs. However, this new method that uses the Black Sea as a natural sink could provide a more cost-effective and energy-efficient solution.
Source: Rewind, ABC News, Reuters