A research team from the US Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is making a case for seeding the ocean to increase Carbon Dioxide uptake and storage.
In a recent study, the scientists examined seeding iron-rich, engineered fertilizer particles near ocean plankton. Feeding the Phytoplankton would encourage them to grow and take up more carbon dioxide.
The team found that by adding carefully selected particles made from engineered materials, they could further encourage the Phytoplankton to act as a carbon sink. The organisms would soak up large amounts of carbon before dying. Then, they would take the carbon with them when they sank to the ocean floor.
While this is a process that occurs naturally, the team would accelerate it.
Commenting on the work, the lead scientist on the study, Michael Hochella, stated:
“The idea is to augment existing processes. Humans have fertilized the land to grow crops for centuries. We can learn to fertilize the oceans responsibly. At this point, time is of the essence. To combat rising temperatures, we must decrease CO2 levels on a global scale. Examining all our options, including using the oceans as a CO2 sink, gives us the best chance of cooling the planet.”
The research was recently published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, which can be read here.