What is carbon sequestration. How can it be done by an artificial sequestration sink ?
Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing produced carbon dioxide and subsequently storing it safely, away from the atmosphere. It is a method that reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, aiming at reducing global warming and climate change. It also aims at stabilizing the amounts of the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere, and reducing the human ‘carbon footprint’. It is a natural occurrence but could also occur as a result of anthropogenic activities, which also see carbon being stored from becoming carbon dioxide gas.
- Clearly defined, how carbon sinks remove carbon dioxide(CO2) from the Earth’s atmosphere is called carbon sequestration.
- Importantly, carbon sequestration is both a natural and artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the Earth’s atmosphere and then stored in liquid or solid form.
- It is a process of capture and deliberate, whether natural or artificial, storage of CO2 over a long period of time. The initial purpose of doing this is to delay global warming and avoid extreme climate change.
- It is also important to note that other forms of carbon, not just CO2 are stored during this sequestration process.
- A more scientific explanation (an example) is; the removal and storage of carbon from the atmosphere to sinks – oceans, soil, forests – through physical means and the natural process best known as photosynthesis.
- There is one positive trend in carbon sequestration. While large areas of forests have been cleared over the years, today humankind is still making concerted efforts to grow more forests to invigorate carbon sequestration.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which means it traps heat in the atmosphere and is a result of both human and natural activities. Natural or biological carbon dioxide can come from decomposing organic matter, land-use changes, and forest fires, while man-made carbon dioxide can come from energy-generating processes such as burning coal, oil, and natural gas. A build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases causes the trapping of heat within the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. As such, learning how to capture and store carbon dioxide can be crucial in fighting climate change. Before addressing how the process works, it is vital to understand carbon and carbon dioxide. Despite what you might think, carbon is life. It is a chemical element that is a basic building block of biomolecules and exists on earth in both solid, dissolved, and gaseous forms. For instance, carbon is in graphite and diamond, and when combined with oxygen molecules, it forms the gaseous carbon dioxide gas.
In other words, carbon sequestration means capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced from new and old coal-powered power plants and large industrial sources before it is released into the atmosphere. Once captured, the CO2 is put into long-term storage either by storing it in carbon sinks (such as oceans, forests, or soils) or underground injection and geologic sequestration into deep underground rock formations.
How Does Carbon Sequestration Work?
one of the technologies discussed by policymakers, engineers, and scientists is carbon capture and storage (CSS). It is a geoengineering process where carbon dioxide is first separated from other gases contained in industrial emissions. It is then compressed and transported to a location where it is safely isolated from the atmosphere for long-term storage. CSS typically refers to the capture of carbon dioxide at its direct source of emission before releasing into the atmosphere, but may also refer to techniques used to remove carbon dioxide from the air, like the use of scrubbing towers and ‘artificial trees’. Once the carbon dioxide is captured and transported, it can also be stored in other suitable locations such as geological formations like deep saline formations. These are sedimentary rocks whose pore spaces are saturated with water containing high concentrations of dissolved salts. The carbon dioxide may also be stored in depleted oil and gas reservoirs or the deep ocean.These locations are in such a way that the carbon dioxide, once released there, would be used constructively than it would have, had it been released in the atmosphere. For instance, carbon sequestration in the ocean means the plankton at the ocean surface will convert the carbon dioxide, through photosynthesis, into oxygen, much like the trees and land plants do on land