Researchers at Israel-based climate change solutions company Rewind have 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 bottom of the sea. This prevents the carbon from being released back into the atmosphere, effectively storing it 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 carbon from reentering the atmosphere. This method utilizes existing plant matter 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 the carbon-rich biomass is sunk. Lack of oxygen creates an environment that preserves the plants and prevents them from decomposing. Additionally, the Black Sea region produces a significant amount of residual biomass from agriculture and wood products, making it a suitable location for this process.
Woody plants, such as trees, are particularly suitable for carbon storage as they capture carbon quickly and are stable in water. Other agricultural leftovers, such as sunflower stalks, are also viable options. The biomass is tested for carbon content and harmful chemicals before being transported and sunk into the sea.
If scaled up, this method of carbon storage has the potential to remove 1 billion tonnes 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 critical 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 utilizing the Black Sea as a natural sink may provide a more cost-effective and energy-efficient solution.
Source: Rewind, ABC News, Reuters